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When I first started fly-fishing, I took a fly-casting lesson from a certified professional fly caster (they do exist). The instructor said, “Let’s see what you got.” Casting a line on a fly rod is similar to throwing a rope. You need momentum. So I swung back and then thrusted my body forward. I thought it was a good cast. I expected my instructor to say, “You are a good caster; why do you need me? But that is not what came out of her mouth. Instead, she answered, “You’re working too hard. You’ll rip your underwear doing it that way.” She took the rod, raised it in the air, and flicked it once back and then forward. There was a lightning bolt of energy that hit the line and it went twice the distance. I was awestruck and exclaimed, “Wow!” That is what I said. What I meant was this. “I want to do what you just did. I want to have what you have.” Let me tell you what happens when you have a “wow” inside of you.
I took the seminarians to my uncle’s chalet in New Hampshire during their winter break. It was snowing sideways on our second day so they popped in a video. I took the opportunity to practice my fly-casting. I went across the street and stood on the frozen pond where there was ample room to practice. A car drove by, stopped, a wind window was lowered, and a guy shouted at me. I was too far away to be able to hear the guy yelling something so I dropped my fly rod and walked over. He asked, “Did you catch anything yet?” So there I was standing in the middle of a snowstorm with a total stranger I never met before laughing at me. People were looking out the window wondering if I lost my mind. This is the price I am willing to pay to be able to have what my instructor has. All this because I have a “wow” inside of me.
I say all of this because the story of Jesus’s Transfiguration is about glory. What exactly does it mean to glorify? God is invisible. So in order for us to see God, He must do something to become visible. That is what happens when God is glorified. The Himalayas in the morning sun after a snowstorm shows the majesty of God. A butterfly glorifies God by revealing the beauty of God. We look up at the sky at night and the stars reveal the depth and vastness of God. A hurricane in the middle of the ocean demonstrates the power of God. A butterfly exposes God’s beauty. Christ on the Cross reveals God’s mercy, compassion, and desire to do anything for us.
So why does God show Himself to us? Why so many stars? Why are hurricanes so powerful, why are the mountains so high, why are sunsets and butterflies so beautiful? So that we will say “wow!” Stars do it, mountains do it, hurricanes do it, butterflies do it, Christ does it. Do we do it? Do we show God’s greatness to the world? It is the greatest thing we can do. Of course, we want to. Before we can represent God to the world, we have to see Him. You need that “wow.”Back to All Homilies