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August 9, 2022

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

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1951)

With deep reverence, we are now celebrating one of the greatest events in the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ - His Transfiguration.

Why do I call this feast so great?

Because the Lord was pleased to reveal to the whole world through His chosen apostles, witnesses of the Transfiguration, His heavenly glory.

Has He revealed all the glory? Oh no, far, far from all. It is impossible to see the glory of God with impunity: it is impossible for a person to see the glory of God and stay alive.

The Lord revealed only a small part of His glory - His Divine light, but even this is immeasurably great.

The world learned through the holy apostles that the Lord Jesus Christ shone with Divine light.

The world learned that besides the light of the sun, the material light, there is another light - Divine. But they did not know this before, they did not think about any Divine light.

And how we should have known about the Divine light!

Material light, the light of the sun gives material life to all life on earth. Without it, no earthly life is possible. He gives life to everything. In this respect it is immeasurably greater than any artificial light, even electric, which does not give life to anything.

But the light of the sun gives life to material life, and besides it there is eternal life, where life is not material, but spiritual.

Just as the sun is the source of bodily life, so is the source of eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And this Light, enlightening every person coming into the world, was seen by the holy chosen apostles on Mount Tabor.

About this light, about its bearer, the Lord Jesus, the Holy Apostle John the Theologian writes: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

The light of Christ is true life. In these words light and life are identified.

What kind of life is understood here? Of course, not bodily life, rather, eternal life in communion with God.

And the source of this eternal life, this never fading light, is only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

In what darkness does the light of Christ shine?

In the darkness of sin, in the outer darkness, which is so immeasurably much.

But this darkness, this spiritual darkness can never, never extinguish this eternal Divine light, for "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

This is the light that the Lord Jesus Christ showed on Mount Tabor - the light of God, the light that constitutes the true and original essence of only one God, for this light is one of the most glorious properties of God.

The Lord Jesus said about Himself: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

He is the light of the whole world: His Divine light illuminates the whole world.

But we read in the Gospel that Elijah and Moses, who appeared to the Lord Jesus Christ during His Transfiguration, also shone with Divine glory.

And Moses, a thousand years before, had already shone with Divine light during his lifetime. When he descended from Mount Sinai, carrying the tablets of the Covenant, then his face shone with Divine light unbearable for human eyes, and he had to cover his face with a veil, for the eyes of the people of Israel could not bear to look at this light.

What was this light? It was not an original light that belonged to Moses himself - it is a light borrowed from God, it is a reflection of the Divine light.

You know that all the planets do not shine for us with their own light, they are dark bodies, not luminous, they shine with the light of the sun reflected on them. They take their light from the sun.

So all the saints, and both great prophets, participants in the Transfiguration of the Lord, did not shine with their own light, but with a light borrowed from God. Even about the greatest of men, John the Forerunner of the Lord, in the Gospel of John it is said that he was not a light, but was sent to testify of the true light - the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is great and glorious to shine with the reflected light of the Divine, but it is shameful and unworthy to seek the reflected power and greatness of the powerful of this world, as courtiers and flatterers have been looking for this at all times.

There are many people who consider themselves enlightened, bearers of the light of science and philosophy. The words of Christ are addressed to them: “Look, therefore, at the light that is in you, whether there is darkness” (Luke 11:35).

Oh, how it is necessary for them to ponder these words, to compare their imaginary light with the Divine light of Christ, and to understand the poverty of their souls.

But Matthew quotes these words differently: “So if the light that is in you is darkness, then what is the darkness?” (Matthew 6:23).

Think about these words, I want to explain these words to you.

But they are not easy to understand, and I will start from afar.

In distant India live religious thinkers and ascetics who call themselves yogis.

They created a doctrine, though alien to us, but wise.

They say that those who have acquired spiritual vision see people surrounded by rays of various colors: kind and pure people are surrounded by beautiful blue radiance, evil and cruel red ones, stupid and completely devoted to base interests are immersed in dark and black radiation.

Maybe they really see it, but why am I telling you about it?

That in this teaching of the yogis there is a certain amount of truth, it is not far from the great and deep words of Christ: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35) .

With the goodness and light of their souls, imperceptibly pouring into the outer darkness, the righteous illuminate this darkness.

They are like a man walking in the dark with a lantern: he illuminates the path for himself and shows it to others.

And if the heart of a person is darkness, then the outer darkness is also impenetrable for him (“and what is the darkness”).

Woe to him, woe to him whose hands are covered in blood, whom yogis see surrounded by red radiation!

May such terrible grief not befall any of us!

May Christ hear and fulfill our petition: “May your everlasting light shine upon us sinners, through the prayers of the Theotokos, Light Giver, glory to Thee.”

But this great joy must be earned by diligent fulfillment of all the commandments of Christ.

We must become righteous, who will shine like the sun in the kingdom of the Heavenly Father. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.