I will offer Holy Day homilies for those who were not able to attend. I present them here as they were written, in an informal presentation style. Readings: 2Peter 1:10-19 and Mt 18:23-35.
“Our generation is not much different from any other generation in history. There have always been scoffers, those who disbelieve, and those who teach things contrary to what we have been given by God Himself. But in our own time we have been born into a world-view that has dramatically shifted from faith in God, to faith in man. This major shift has been occurring for a few hundred years with the acculturation of modern Western philosophy; which has denied the possibility of absolute truth. Too often we hear that what is true for you- is not true for me, and that anything can be justified by an individual’s own experience. How can this be true?–it’s not true for me… So, what is truth then?
Likewise, the modern atheists assert that the true faith handed down through the Catholic Church is nothing more than a cleverly devised myth, an attempt by stupid ancient men to rationalize their existence, and to control the masses. Even some Christian circles and some liberal theologians postulate- that the experience of the Apostles are embellished and spiritualized, and that they witnessed normal occurrences from that great guy Jesus.
But today; we hear from Peter, the prime Apostle, the one who Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, the one who Jesus said that he is to be the rock on which the Church would be built, the very one who was told to ’feed the lambs; and to ’tend the sheep: This Peter, tells us, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory; ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; we hear this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain” (2Pet 1:16-18).
Peter, commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself, tells us that we are not following clever devised myths, but in fact are following the true Son of God, One in the Holy Trinity.
When Peter, James, and John were with Jesus on the mountain, Jesus was transfigured before them, His face was shining as the sun, and His garments were shining as the brightest white. The Apostles were amazed at this scene, but they were still able to talk and think, even in the presence of both Moses and Elijah. But then a bright cloud overshadowed them, and the voice of God the Father spoke to them. This, the Apostles could not bare, hearing the actual voice of God was so overpowering, that they immediately fell to the ground on their faces. -Now, think about this one, when we fall by accident, our natural reaction is to put our hands and arms out to catch ourselves: so we don’t hit our head, and so we don’t scratch our faces. But these Apostles were overtaken by something so powerful and magnificent, that even their bodily reactions could not function in God’s presence, and they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe.
But Jesus touched them and said, ‘Rise, and have no fear:’ God is indeed powerful, magnificent, and full of awe, and in His presence we sinful creatures should cower in submission, but at the same time, we should not be afraid of God, but as Jesus invites us, we should be in conformity with God, and if we live in that state of Grace, there will be nothing to fear.
For the reception of Holy Communion, when the faithful are invited to “approach” to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ, the deacon says, “approach with fear of God, and with Faith:’ We are afraid, because we are in awe of God’s majesty and power and the fact that He is present to us at this time in a very real way;- and we approach with faith, because we ‘believe and profess that You are truly Christ, Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the first.”
As Peter begins today’s reading, he says, “Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall.” -If we have this unshakable faith, even in the face of being born into a world molded by modern philosophers, then we will be victorious, and God’s work will be done through us, and the Church will grow, and souls will be saved. Glory to Jesus Christ!”