Saturday, March 19, 2011

O Nata Lux.

How many sermons this week will try and tred that rather strained simile of Our Lord's Transfiguration and the power of a nuclear blast?Certainly with the current nuclear threat in Japan the temptation will be very inviting. Whilst this might be somewhat effective of the Feast of Transfiguration (which also happens to be 'Hiroshima' day) the horror of the immediate situation perhaps does not sit well with the glory of today's Gospel. Or does it?

The Gospel for the Second Sunday in Lent is there for a purpose. It didn't accidentally fall into it's place in the liturgical cursus for no reason whatsoever. For a good reason it has been tied into that progress towards the events of Holy Week in the mind of the Church from the earliest days- even perhaps before the Gospels themselves were completed.  Is it perhaps a deliberate foil of glory against the dark hues of Passiontide- something that would even further emphasise the abasement that would occur on Calvary?  Possibly it could have that rather dramatic purpose. Continuing that theatrical metaphor perhaps we need to look at the minor characters in the scene, sort of Biblical Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to get to the point.

What were Moses and Elijah doing in the scene? They just seem to be almost mute parts. Stage dressing with a life support system. And it's the fact that they are just  there which is rather beguiling. You see they serve to indicate the continuance of the events recorded in the Old Testament with those of the New Testament. One of the dangers of modern Christianity has been the tendency to devalue the Old Testament to the point of irrelevance. Not a new idea. Some of the earliest heretics started from that presumption. But here we have the appearance of two of the most significant figures of the Old Covenant present in an essential moment of the New Covenant. There is a continuity. That looked forward to in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New. The New Testament can only be properly understood by what had gone before.

The plan of God for mankind started before Creation, continued with the Patriarchs and Prophets, and was fulfilled in Our Lord Jesus Christ the Redeemer of all Ages.  In this one scene from his earthly life the strands are all brought together before the final consummation at Eastertide.

O light born of light,
Jesus, Redeemer of the ages,
deign in mercy to accept
the offering of praise and prayers.

Who once to be clad in flesh
deigned for the lost
grant that we may be made
members of thy blessed body.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.