August 13, 2022

Homily Seven on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

I have already preached to you many times about the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor, but this feast is so great that any new thought about it deserves a separate sermon.

In the troparion of the Transfiguration of the Lord, you hear the words: “May Your everlasting Light shine on us, sinners, through the prayers of the Theotokos, Giver of Light, glory to You."

Is it necessary to understand these words in such a way that we ask the Lord Jesus Christ that His Divine Light shines on us, so that we only see this Light, be His spectators?

Oh no! We are waiting and asking for much more; we wait not only for the contemplation of the Divine Light in the Lord Jesus Christ, but we ask that this Light shine also in us sinners, and not only be contemplated by us in the Lord Jesus.

What gives us the right to desire and ask for this blessedness? First of all, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, which we read in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.

The Lord explained to His Apostles His parable, incomprehensible to them, about the tares that grew together with the wheat. He said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; the good seed are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of this age: the Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather from His Kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who do iniquity, and cast them into a fiery furnace; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth; then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:37-43).

Remember these last words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

They themselves will shine with Divine light, similar to that which the Lord Jesus Christ shone and transfigured.

Those who do not believe in God and in anything spiritual know only the material light of heavenly bodies, electric lamps and fire. And we, believers who revere the Holy Scriptures for truth, know from the book of Exodus, the second book of the Holy Bible, that the face of the great prophet Moses shone with unbearable light for human eyes after forty days of direct communication with God on Mount Sinai and receiving from Him stone tablets written upon them with the finger of God the Ten Commandments.

We also know about an event very close to us in the Sarov Hermitage, where the great Venerable Seraphim lived and labored. He often visited the landowner Motovilov, whom he loved and lived in the neighborhood, and one day the great Seraphim unexpectedly said to Motovilov: “Look at me.” And with fear Motovilov saw that Seraphim's face suddenly shone with heavenly light, and then soon took on its usual form.

As you can see, this great righteous man could even show his heavenly light at will and hide it again.

The word of the Lord Jesus Christ is addressed to all faithful Christians: “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).

Not only to the bishop, after he has been clothed in sacred vestments, are the words of Christ proclaimed: “So let your light shine before men, so that they see your good deeds and glorify your Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16), - they also apply to all Christians who have loved their Savior and God with all their hearts.

Let us, my brothers and sisters, live in such a way that in the darkness of unbelief that surrounds us, let us shine at least with the faint light of our souls, and after our death, shine like the sun in the eternal Kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

May our Lord and God Jesus Christ, who has now shone with heavenly light on Mount Tabor, help us in this. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.