Homilies | Posted 15.03.2017

Stonyhurst St Peter’s Church homilies

“His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as the light.” (Matthew17.2)

“It could be you”.   Just about everyone must have seen that tempting slogan advertised outside shops and at supermarket tills, inviting us to buy lottery tickets.  Someone hoping to win the lottery has an underlying belief that success will transform their life.   To suddenly come into a windfall of £1,000,000, especially to a person on a low income, will surely change everything, and take the lucky individual to a state of heavenly bliss.  Experience, however, shows that it does no such thing, and in some sad cases winning the lottery is the ruin of the ticket holder’s life.  Common sense shows us that money has limited use: if a person has a bad cold, having £1,000,000 will not change that; if a person has a bad temper £1,000,000 will not change that; if someone cannot make friends, £1,000,000  may worsen their difficulty, as shady characters will pretend to befriend them, simply for their money.

Nevertheless, the fact that so many people yearn to escape from their limited lifestyle into some higher form of life, is witness to the deep desire of the human heart to move to a higher level; a desire that advertisers, both of the lottery and other schemes, utilise to sell their promises.    Unfortunately, we humans are not capable by our own efforts, to achieve the wonderful state of life to which we naturally aspire.   The lottery, like so many material promises, merely leads a person down a cul-de-sac.

When Jesus changes before Peter, James and John, to become a person radiating light and power, he is displaying his divine nature, but that nature as encapsulated in his humanity.   Jesus, and he alone, is able to be the totally fulfilled human person, because he is imbued with the divine character.  This awesome figure who so overwhelms the 3 disciples, is truly, genuinely, fully human in this great transformation.   Saint Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”   This is exactly what Jesus is here on the mountain.  This is the person you and I desperately wish to be, fear that we could never be, doubt that we ought to be; but he is what you and I should be, if only we are given the power to be transformed.

 

But how do we come to win that lottery (if one may make such a lopsided comparison)?   It is by accepting the gift that Jesus makes of his life to us, and then living in his way.  God’s wonderful plan is to ennoble us to the point where we share the heavenly life that he has full of light and glory.  Our creator wants us to be human persons fully alive.  It is a wonderful destiny; it is not a pseudo promise that leads us nowhere; it is the divine scheme.   Let us believe that this is why each of us was made, and set our minds our receiving the divine gift.