To Bring All Things to the Knowledge of the Truth: A Homily on the Feast of the Transfiguration

The following homily was delivered by Fr. Christopher Rocknage at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Steelton, PA on the great feast of the Lord's Transfiguration, August 19, 2015.

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In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

My dear brothers and sisters, today we receive this wonderful and glorious image, this proof through sign that Christ’s crucifixion was voluntary. We heard about it in the kontakion. We heard in the Synaxarion about how He was above Moses and Elijah, showing that He is above the prophets, as a sign to the Jews. We hear about the fact that there were witnesses both in heaven and on earth, confirming His Transfiguration. If we remember correctly from our adult education classes, you need at least two or maybe three witnesses for a testimony to be true. You have Moses and Elijah from Heaven and you have Peter, James and john from earth. It’s confirmed everywhere that Christ is truly the Son of God.

Before we go into a little bit more about what that means, I want to take a little bit of time to look at Peter’s reaction, because in my sinfulness I tend to fall there. Peter sees this wonderful and glorious vision of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, transfigured in His Divine glory, and the first thing he says was, “Lord it is good to be here! I want to do something to mark the fact that I was here. I want to build three tabernacles. I want to put something up that says ‘yes, I was here when this happened.’” And I say that because so often when I’m confronted with the glory of God, with the miracle of His handiwork, with His Divine nature, I say “How can I mark the fact that I was here?” It’s like the teenager that comes out in me and says “Chris was here” like you might carve into a tree.

Fr. Christopher Rocknage Fr. Christopher Rocknage
We have this idea that we have to say “Yes, we were here, we were a part of this,” forgetting that what’s truly important is that Christ is revealed to us, in us, and through us. We forget about that so often, and the only way for that to truly happen is for me to put aside my ego and to say “Yes, Lord, do with me as You will,” to say “no” to my pride and to say “yes” to God. Peter struggled with that. I struggle with that. I fall every single time. Every time. Got a chance for credit? Alright! Slap a good ol’ “Fr. Chris” on there. So often, my dear brother and sisters, we forget about the fact that it’s not about me, it’s not about any of us, individually—it’s about Christ redeeming the world. Yes he came for me, yes he came for you—He came for everybody, the entirety of creation, to bring all things to the knowledge of the Truth, to bring everything to Himself, so that all could be saved.

We have to respond to that call. We have to take the time to say “yes“ to God. In Christ’s Transfiguration, revealing His Divine glory as far as the disciples could bear it, we see this wonderful example of how we will be in Him at the resurrection. We see this glorious example of what is intended for us who become and continue to be a part of Him. The question is: do we take the time to say “no” to ourselves and “yes” to him enough for His Divine radiance to show through us? Only each one of us can answer that question before God. And answer it we will have to.

Christ told us that we are to be a beacon on top of a lampstand, and not a lamp underneath a bushel. We’re not to hide the light that He’s given us. We’re not to mar it continuously, even though we fall. There’s not going to be a time where we’re going to be able to live in this world and not sin, until we die. That’s the mercy of death. We struggle every single day. But the way that we live and are not marred by that sin over and over and have that sin cover the light of Christ is by constantly living in repentance, by constantly giving ourselves over to God, asking forgiveness, getting up when we fall and offering ourselves to Him, and realizing that it was His strength that lifted us up when we fell, and realizing that it wasn’t anything that I did, but rather what He did in me, because then that light starts to shine. Then people see us and they see the radiance of God. Then we become transfigured as well with His divine glory. And then, my dear brothers and sisters, as St. Paul said, all thing are possible through Christ. He makes everything possible, including being part of Him, including being transfigured from us to God by His grace, so that we might glorify the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, always now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Elizabeth Jones8/25/2015 9:21 am
Please, where and when was this photograph taken? It is extraordinary!
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