Last Epiphany, March 3
“As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shown because he had been talking with God” (Ex. 34:29). Moses’ luminous face frightened the people, and yet he summoned them to come near and “he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai” (Ex. 34:32). Finally, “when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face” (Ex. 34:33). The veil may have been a concession to their fear, though he spoke to the people with his face exposed. Or was it, as St. Paul says, “to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside” (2 Cor. 3:13)? Did the glory fade only to be renewed each time Moses spoke with God?
Leaving aside questions without answers, we may say this: “[A]ll of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). We are not, then, considering visible light, but illumination that comes from the Spirit. Every Christian is a lamp of this great light, which shines in the darkness. Jesus Christ is our radiant glow. Not only is he light, he is all-sufficient.
Listen. “Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Luke 9:28-29). Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus. Then a cloud covered the three men on the mountain and the disciples who were weighed down by sleep. A voice spoke, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him!” (Luke 9:35). Finally, Jesus stood alone, and the disciples were wrapped in sacred silence. Jesus alone is everything, and because we stand in Christ, we have everything. We have the life that he is. We are being changed into his likeness from glory to glory.
The Lord is my light, I shall not want. Looking to Christ and receiving his light, we receive the one who is the glory and fullness of God. A saint is waiting to help us. “In giving us his Son, His only Word (for he possess no other), He spoke everything to us at once in his sole Word—and He has no more to say,” St. John of the Cross wrote in Ascent of Mount Carmel. “Fasten your eyes on Him alone, because in Him I have spoken and revealed all, and in Him, you shall discover even more than you ask for or desire. … Fix your eyes on Him, and you will discern hidden in Him the most secret mysteries, and wisdom, and the wonders of God.” All true living and all true learning is the discovery of Christ once revealed. He is an endless treasure.
He is the light of the world, and in him we are lights to the world. Jesus is enough. Fix your eyes on him, listen to him, go with him, take every grace he gives and bear the light that he is. Jesus is everything good, true, and beautiful. He is enough. But do not take my word for it. Take a word you would be hard-hearted to hear and not love, in the music of Mavis Staples and Billy Preston. Listen and shine.
Look It Up
Watch “That’s Enough” by Mavis Staples and Billy Preston.
Think About It
Experience pastoral power.