St Augustine of AfricaOn Matthew 17:1-9 (the mystery of the Transfiguration)

The Lord Jesus Himself shone bright as the sun; His raiment became white as the snow; and Moses and Elijah talked with Him.

Jesus Himself indeed shone as the sun, signifying that “He is the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

What this sun is to the eyes of the flesh, that is He to the eyes of the heart; and what that is to the flesh of men, that is He to their hearts. Now His raiment is His Church.

[…] Of this raiment, Paul was as it were a sort of last border. For he says himself, “I am the least of the Apostles.” […]  Now in a garment the border is the last and least part.

Wherefore as that woman which suffered from an issue of blood, when she had touched the Lord’s border was made whole, so the Church which came from out of the Gentiles, was made whole by the preaching of Paul.

What wonder if the Church is signified by white raiment, when you hear the Prophet Isaiah saying, “Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow”?

Moses and Elijah, that is, the Law and the Prophets, what avail they, except they converse with the Lord? Except they give witness to the Lord, who would read the Law or the Prophets?

Mark how briefly the Apostle expresses this; “For by the Law is the knowledge of sin; but now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested:” behold the sun; “being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,” behold the shining of the Sun.

As the cloud then overshadowed them, and in a way made one tabernacle for them, “a voice also sounded out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son.”

Moses was there; Elijah was there; yet it was not said, “These are My beloved sons.” For the Only Son is one thing; adopted sons another. He was singled out in whom the Law and the prophets glorified.

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him!” Because ye have heard Him in the Prophets, and ye have heard Him in the Law. And where have ye not heard Him? “When they heard this, they fell” to the earth. See then in the Church is exhibited to us the Kingdom of God.

Here is the Lord, here the Law and the Prophets; but the Lord as the Lord; the Law in Moses, Prophecy in Elijah; only they as servants and as ministers. They as vessels: He as the fountain: Moses and the Prophets spake, and wrote; but when they poured out, they were filled from Him.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Homilies on St Matthew’s Gospel, 28, 2, 4.

Advertisements