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August 5, 2021

Homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

The Transfiguration of the Lord, which we commemorate today, took place in this way: Jesus Christ, taking with Him three of His disciples - Peter, James and John - ascended with them to a high mountain, to Tabor, and there during prayer He was transfigured before them, that is, He appeared in a glorified form: His face shone like the sun, His robe became white as snow, and Moses and Elijah appeared talking with Him. The Apostle Peter, delighted with such a wonderful sight, said to Jesus Christ: “Lord! It's good for us here; if you want, we will build three tents here: one for you, the other for Moses, the third for Elijah."

Christian listeners! Why did the Apostle Peter suddenly feel so good on the mountain that he wanted to stay there forever? Saint Peter has probably been on this mountain before; why did he feel so good now? This is because during the Transfiguration, an extraordinary light, Divine light, shone from Jesus Christ, and the apostles, as much as they could, enjoyed this light. In the light of the Divine, everywhere is good: it is light in the darkness, and it is an oasis in the desert.

Do you, dear listeners, wish that you, too, would feel good and cheerful on earth, so that you too would be shone by the Divine Light? Live among yourselves in love and harmony, and you will feel good and cheerful, and you will live in the Divine Light; "He who loves his brother," says the beloved disciple of Christ, "abides in the light" (1 John 2:10). As the Divine Light shone on Mount Tabor, where the Apostle Peter wanted to build three tents, so it always shines in the family where everyone lives in harmony. Like the dew on Hermon, like the dew that descends on the mountains of Zion, so a blessing descends from God on those people who live among themselves in love. And from the outside, the heart rejoices, as you look at people living in agreement with each other, what joy they enjoy in themselves! Unfortunately, such families and few such people are rare.

What to do! We sometimes say: "I would be glad to live with everyone in peace, but it does not depend on me; and I would be ready to forget all the insults, but they not only insult me, but they do not want to be reconciled with me." No, listeners, it mainly depends on us to live in peace with everyone: it depends on us to live peacefully even with those who do not want to live peacefully and be reconciled. Listen to the next incident, and you will be convinced of the truth of my words. 

One monk, offended by his brother, came to him to make peace with him, but he did not receive him and did not open the door for him. The rejected monk went after that to an experienced elder and told him about it. “Do you know,” the elder said to him, “why the brother who offended you did not want to make peace with you? You, going to him to make peace, justified yourself in your soul, and mentally accused him. I advise you to do this: although your brother has sinned against you, but you confirm in your soul the thought that you have sinned against him, and not he against you; blame yourself, but justify him." The monk did according to the elder's advice, went to his brother, and what then? Before he had time to push the door, he opened them at once and greeted him with open arms.

So, pious listener, if you want to live peacefully or make peace with someone, but they do not want to, then in your soul try to justify them, even if they were really guilty before you, and blame yourself, even if you were right before them in everything. Our souls somehow understand each other, and our heartfelt dispositions strongly affect the heart of another. The minute you justify and excuse the other, they on their side will justify and excuse you; thus, there will always be peace and harmony between you.

On the mountain, Christ our God transfigured! Unite our hearts with love so that we always live peacefully and never need to be reconciled. Amen.