Our One True Fit
Homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Preached on August 6, 2010 at Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY
Readings: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Luke 9:28b-36
If we didn’t know any better, we might think that this story was a commercial shot to promote some heavenly laundry detergent. After all, why else would Luke highlight the detail of Jesus’ clothing becoming dazzling white (Lk. 9:29)? Even Mark went out of his way to say in his account that he didn’t think any bleach on earth could make clothes as white as Jesus’ were on that mountain (Mk. 9:3). For the story of the Transfiguration, we would expect the description of Jesus’ face changing in appearance (Lk. 9:29), shining like the sun (Mt. 17:2). But we might not completely understand why the Synoptic Gospels found it necessary to feature the celestially-bleached super-white clothes of the Lord on center stage.
I suppose the evangelists are reminding us here that anything or anyone that comes into contact with Jesus—even His clothes—are also transformed by Him who is transfigured. Recall how the sick are healed when they touch the tassel of His cloak (Mt. 14:35-36), how the woman with the hemorrhage is cured when she reaches for the hem of His garment (Lk. 8:43-44). Christ is so contagious in His power and glory that His touch transmits His healing, that His clothes are caught in His splendor. Those that come into contact with Jesus are somehow changed to conform into His likeness: the sick are made whole, the sinner seeks sanctity, the dull garments begin to dazzle with the glory of the Son of God.
We would do well to remember this when we come forward to this altar to receive in our bare hands the glorious Body of Christ present in the humble appearance of bread and wine. We who come into contact with Christ are to be changed by His grace to become more like Him. We know what that means: all our dirty laundry has to go. None of that old laundry will suit us anyway because we have clothed ourselves with Christ (Gal. 3:27) and we have found His baptismal white to be our one true fit.