Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Glory Invades the Grub World

Wednesday: August 6, 2014 –– 18th Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 17:1–9
The Transfiguration––Glory Invades the Grub World

I love the Feast of the Transfiguration. It is meant to give us who live in this spiritually impaired world a brief glimpse of reality. This past weekend I used an illustration that I am repeating because it gives a context to extend the significance of the Transfiguration.

Imagine a colony of grubs living on the bottom of a swamp. And every once in a while, one of these grubs is inclined to climb a leaf stem to the surface. Then he disappears above the surface and never returns. All the grubs wonder why this is so and what it must be like up there, so they counsel among themselves and agree that the next one who goes up will come back and tell the others. Not long after that, one of the grubs feels the urge and climbs that leaf stem and goes out above the surface onto a lily pad. And there in the warmth of the sun, he falls asleep. While he sleeps, the carapace of the tiny creature breaks open, and out of the inside of the grub comes a magnificent dragonfly with beautiful, wide, rainbow-hued, iridescent wings. And he spreads those wings and flies, soaring out over those waters. But then he remembers the commitment he has made to those behind, yet now he knows he cannot return. They would not recognize him in the first place, and beyond that, he could not live again in such a place. But one thought is his that takes away all the distress: they, too, shall climb the stem, and they, too, shall know the glory (Bruce Thielemann, Christus Imperator).

How does this relate to the Transfiguration? Just this: Jesus, as God-Man, did the seemingly impossible because he left the realm of glory to become a “grub” –– like us, in our spiritually grub-like existence––to give us a reason for hope. In the Transfiguration Jesus was enveloped for a brief moment in his “dragonfly” glory so his grub-like disciples (all the way down to us today) can hope there is something beyond this broken world we see with our natural eyes. And the reason the Transfiguration gives a wonderful picture of reality is because Jesus brought that brief moment to full reality in his Resurrection and Ascension. On this Feast of the Transfiguration, behold the glory of the Son of Man, and know that it is the destiny of all who belong to him!

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