Via the WebElf Report, I ran across a quote that is meant to provide “homiletical background” for preachers writing sermons for Transfiguration Sunday. Without checking on Binky’s links, and with no hint from me, I’d like to challenge readers to 1) identify the author; or 2) at least identify the denominational affiliation of the author. I’ll reveal the answer tomorrow. Remember–no peeking.
The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus in today’s gospel is one of the stranger stories in any of the Gospels. Evidently Jesus had a powerful “religious experience” at some point in his public life, an experience which had a profound effect on him and on the apostles who were with him. As the story of this experience was related among the early Christians it took on a heavy overlay of theological symbolism. In the context of St. Matthew’s Gospel it becomes a turning point in Jesus’ life, an experience in which he saw that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer and die while he was there. Since Jesus was human he was fated to die just as all of us are fated to die. In his death, however, there would be something more. Since God was present in Jesus in a special way, God would also go down into the valley of death to show us how great was his love for us, to assure us that He would be with us at the time of our own deaths, and how all of us should face death. The manner of Jesus’ death was not fated. He could have declined to go to Jerusalem without sin. Yet he came to see that he had to go there and so he did.
Comments from preachers about the usefulness, helpfulness, or accuracy of this “background” is also welcome. Fire away, pastors.
UPDATE: Well, I think I’ve tortured you all long enough. The answer is…
The Rev. Andrew Greeley, Roman Catholic priest, sociologist, writer of sleazy novels, and really, really, REALLY bad interpreter of Scripture. From the sounds of it he may be a heretical theologian as well, but since he isn’t employed as a teacher of theology I doubt that anyone, including his bishop, cares much about that.
The quote above comes from Diogenes of Catholic World News, who in turn got it from here. Diogenes introduces it with this, to which I think a lot of Protestants whose pastors came out of mainline seminaries can relate:
It’s a fine illustration of progressivist discourse, and will explain the dread that grips believing Catholics whenever their pastor climbs into the pulpit.