A Reading from the Book of Exodus (34:29-35)
Moses came down from Mount Sinai. 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 shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
- The Last Sunday of the Epiphany always has a version of the transfiguration story.
- Moses is bringing the second set of tablets down after he destroyed the first set in anger.
- This scene is portrayed many times in the art world.
- The shining face can also be translated as “having horns.”
1 The Lord is King;
let the people tremble; *
he is enthroned upon the cherubim;
let the earth shake.
2 The Lord is great in Zion; *
he is high above all peoples.
3 Let them confess his Name, which is great and awesome; *
he is the Holy One.
4 “O mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; *
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.”
5 Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God
and fall down before his footstool; *
he is the Holy One.
6 Moses and Aaron among his priests,
and Samuel among those who call upon his Name, *
they called upon the Lord, and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; *
they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them.
8 “O Lord our God, you answered them indeed; *
you were a God who forgave them,
yet punished them for their evil deeds.”
9 Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God
and worship him upon his holy hill; *
for the Lord our God is the Holy One.
- The first part of these verses focuses on Yahweh is king in Zion or Jerusalem.
- The footstool refers to the Holy of Holys or the Ark of the Covenant.
- The second half reflects on Yahweh’s faithful response to prayer.
A Reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians ( 3:12-4:2)
Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all 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. Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.
- Paul refers back to Moses with the veil.
- The veil is symbolic in that it is only lifted when communicating with Christ.
- Paul is also defending his own ministry here.
- We are being transfigured the same way that Moses was.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (9:28-36)
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. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
- The names were listed as Peter, John, and James, with James being listed last, perhaps indicating the least favorite.
- James wanted the Gentiles to follow Jewish tradition.
- There was disagreement with this among the disciples of Jesus.
- It is not specified which mountain they are at, but the mountain is believed to make them closer to God.
- Jesus face is also illuminated, similar to that of Moses.
- Luke uses the scenario of “two men” here similar to the two men on Easter morning and the two men on the road to Emmaus.
- How did the they know the two men with Jesus were Moses and Elijah?
- They talked about his exodus just before Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem.
- Luke uses the Greek term “master” and not the Hebrew term “rabbi” when referring to Jesus.
- Clouds are the mysterious place where people meet God.