1 THE SHEPHERD • AUGUST 2023 • SAINT SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO FROM THE DESK OF FATHER ANDREW www.theshepherdnews.com The Shepherd Newsletter On Sunday, August 6th the Church celebrates one of its Twelve Major feast days of the Church – The Transfiguration of the Lord. From the Gospel reading on that day (Luke 17:1-9) we hear about Jesus climbing the mountain (Mt. Tabor) with three of His closest disci- ples: Peter, James and John. We are told that as they reach the top of the mountain Jesus was transfigured before them and His face shone white as light. Similarly, as Jesus is be- ing baptized, we hear the voice of the Father proclaim the same phrase as on Mt. Tabor to His three disciples and to those present: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him. Theologically, the awe- some event that took place on the mountain is considered to be a Theophany , a revelation of God (as the Holy Trinity). The first per- son of the Holy Trinity, the Father, speaks; the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, is transfigured and the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is present in the form of light that was white and shone like the sun . Throughout the Old Testament and into the New, God oftentimes reveals Himself (not fully of course) high on a mountaintop. To the outsider and quite frankly to some Chris- tians, this account of the Transfiguration (and other Christ events as well) are looked upon as mythical . The Transfiguration of Je- sus Christ to His three disciples is seen as a product of someone’s vivid imagination. But to those of us with the spiritual eyes of faith, the Transfiguration is as real as the physical world around us. But how can we be so sure? The answer may be found from St. Peter’s Second Letter, which is the accompanying Epistle reading for August 6th (the Trans- figuration). As we remember, St. Peter was one of the disciples with Jesus on Mt. Tabor. Verses 16-20 remind us that 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. 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,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure… First of all you must understand this, that no prophesy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. What is important to focus on is that Peter is writing and preaching his eyewitness account of the Transfiguration; what he and the two other disciples saw and heard on Mt. Tabor. But even more importantly, it is the prophet- ic word that really gives what he saw and wrote its authority. How? It is through the prophetic word (that God puts into our mouths) according to our faith that will most likely bring upon us trials and tribulations. God’s prophetic word may re- quire some sacrifice and suffering (from His prophets ). The prophets of Holy Scripture did not and do not really want to be proph- ets possibly because of the cost involved. The true prophets of the Old Testament pre- sented their arguments to God as to why He should not use them. However, God com- pelled them and they consented to do His work, whatever the cost (Jer. 1: 6-9). This is what is taking place in the verses quot- ed fromSt. Peter’s Second Letter. He is relating that it is not just his eyewitness account that makes what happened on Mt. Tabor a real event, it is his willingness to sacrifice and suf- fer as God’s prophet, for having proclaimed and written about the Τransfiguration. The Shepherd The official newsletter publication for the parish of Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church of San Diego I S S U E 3 2 7 • AU G U S T 2 0 2 3 continues 3 IN THIS ISSUE FR. ANDREW ............................................. p. 1 PRESIDENT OF THE PARISH COUNCIL, WOMEN OF THE WORD, PHILOPTOCHOS NEWS .......................................................... p. 2 DIVINE SERVICES, HOLY SACRAMENTS, DEATHS, MEMORIALS, PANARCADIANS, PERSONNEL .............p. 3 YOUTH MINISTRIES ................................. p. 4 GREEK LANGUAGE SCHOOL ................ p. 5 PARISH CALENDAR ................................. p. 6 COLLEGE CONNECTION, SENIORS..... p. 7 CONTACT INFORMATION....................... p. 8