Advent: Day 3

Daily Office Lections: Amos 3:1-11; 2 Peter 1:12-21; Matthew 21:12-22

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. -- 2 Peter 1:12-21, ESV

The Apostle Peter when writing his second epistle knows that he is not long for this world, that "the putting off of [his] body will be soon." What is rendered 'body' in verses 13 and 14, is the Greek word for 'tent." It's very possible that this word choice is a reference to a theology of dwelling place in general and to the Transfiguration in particular, the latter being recalled by Peter in the verses immediately following. The Tabernacle was a tent, a mobile temple, God's glorious dwelling place on earth. For that is what a temple is -- a dwelling place for deity, a place where heaven and earth overlap.

And God's plan is that all of the cosmos, that is, heaven and earth would be his dwelling place, his tent -- his temple. And at the end of the Bible, we get a glimpse of that plan being fulfilled, heaven and earth being joined in marriage: "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God" (Revelation 21:3, KJV).

And, moreover, God will not only dwell with his people, but in them, and them in him (John 14ff). So we can, with Peter, call our bodies 'tents,' not in some sort of dualistic way that devalues the body and creation, quite the opposite. The creation is a chalice to be filled with God's glory. The body, particularly Christ's body, the Church, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the place where God's glory dwells.

This is the glorious future for which we are made and to which we are called --- seeing God, and being united to him (but not in a pantheistic way -- the union between God and man is real but not in a way that obliterates the Creator / creature distinction. Though we are divinized, "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), God alone is God, transcendent, other -- there is none beside him).

The Transfiguration was a preview of the Beatific Vision, of the age to come, of the marriage of heaven and earth. And Peter, along with James and John, was an eyewitness of this glorious event. Thus, he personally assures the Church that the Gospel is not a "cleverly devised myth," and that the prophecies of Scripture do not find their origin in the "will of man," but are rather divinely inspired, and thus we need to pay attention and keep our eyes on the light.

We are in the darkness, (the days are literally getting shorter), waiting the glory of the Lord to shine about us at the arrival of the king. In anticipation of and preparation for that great day, let us cast of the works of darkness and put on the armor of light by beholding (in Scripture, in prayer, and in Sacrament) the Light of the World, and in doing so be transfigured in the likeness of Christ.

Fr. Matt+