Friday, 6 August 2021 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, remembering the moment when the Lord Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, was revealed in all of His glory and splendour before His three closest disciples, Peter, James and John. The Lord Jesus brought them up to Mount Tabor to be witnesses of His glorification, as He revealed for the first time the true nature of His existence, as One Who not just a mere Man, but also fully Divine, as the Son of God, the Divine Word Incarnate.

The Lord revealed Himself before the three disciples to show them and to make them witnesses of the truth about Himself, which He had very carefully kept hidden most of the time. Many did not know Who the Lord truly was, and many thought that He was just a Prophet or Holy Man of God. Some others like many of the members of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law even doubted Him and questioned His authority and authenticity, and even accused Him of colluding with demons.

By revealing Himself to His disciples, which they later then revealed to others and written in the Scriptures, in an account for all of us to know the truth, therefore, the Lord had made Himself known to all so that everyone may see the Lord’s true intentions, by His coming into this world in fulfilling the Law and the various prophecies that had been made. Hence, we heard how the Lord met with Moses and Elijah on top of Mount Tabor, which is symbolic of the Law and the Prophets, that each of them represented.

Moses and Elijah were unique in that they were truly close to God, and both ended their earthly existence in manners unknown to us, as Moses was brought up to the Mount Nebo when he was about to die, and he died with the view of the land that the Israelites was to receive, at the end of their Exodus. Meanwhile the prophet Elijah was carried up into heaven on a flaming chariot in the full view of the prophet Elisha, his successor. Both Moses and Elijah therefore, were with God and as they came to meet up with the Lord, they symbolised the fulfilment of the Law, which Moses represented, having brought the Law of God to His people, and also the prophecies of the prophets, represented by Elijah, the greatest among the prophets of God.

These highlighted the Lord’s mission as He came to make the Law perfect and to make its full intentions and meaning known to us, as He taught His people and revealed to us through His Church. He Himself had said that He came not to destroy or override the Law, but to make it perfect and completely fulfilled, while mankind had erred in their interpretations and failed to recognise and appreciate the Law and its true purpose and significance. And His coming into this world also fulfilled the many prophecies that had been made about His coming, as the Lord came to save His people. The Lord has always been faithful to His Covenant, and He showed it to perfection in Christ, His Son.

But what is even more significant is what happened after the Transfiguration, as the Lord could have chosen to stay there in His glorious moment and majesty, just as Peter, His disciple had suggested, that they ought to stay there and to make tents to accommodate them on that mountain. The Lord then kindly rebuked His disciples, as His voice was heard, reaffirming yet again that Jesus was truly the Son of God and told them to listen to His words. The Lord returned to His original self, and then descended the mountain, to go to His Passion, suffering and death, which would then soon to come, facing His opponents and willingly embracing the weight and burden of the Cross.

How is all these significant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord has shown us all that we are all called to holiness through Him and with Him. Just as the Lord Jesus, Who shared in our human nature and existence has been glorified, the Transfiguration reminds us and shows us of our glorified future, our renewed and blessed existence in God, should we remain faithful to Him and His commandments, obeying His Law and listening to Him. All of us are called to holiness, to be like the saints of God, all of whom were once sinners, but who abandoned and rejected their sinful ways and the path of evil for a new life in God.

But at the same time it does not mean that we are going to have instantaneous glory and joy, as we have to expect challenges and difficulties, and even sufferings and sorrows in our journey, just as the Lord endured through His Passion, His suffering and death, before His final triumph and glory in His Resurrection. We Who share in our humanity with Christ, have therefore shared in His Cross, and His suffering and in dying to our sins, and we shall also share in His glorious Resurrection, entering a new life with God in the end, for eternity.

What we all need to do now is to commit ourselves anew to a life that is in accordance with God and follow Him wholeheartedly from now on, if we have not yet done so. Are we willing to embrace this path, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to seek Him with all of our might and strength, and strive to be exemplary in our lives, in giving our very best for the greater glory of God in all things? These are the things that we have been reminded and called to do as we enter into this celebration of the Lord’s most glorious Transfiguration, His exaltation and revelation to all of us.

Let us all seek to live a virtuous life in God, and look forward to our own glorious transformation and transfiguration in time to come, that all of us, holding firmly to our faith, will receive the fullness of God’s grace and blessings. May God be with us always, and may He, our Transfigured Lord, bless us all in our every efforts and good works, in our every faithful endeavours, always. Amen.

Friday, 6 August 2021 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 9 : 2-10

At that time, six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain. There, His appearance was changed before their eyes. Even His clothes shone, becoming as white as no bleach of this world could make them. Elijah and Moses appeared to them; the two were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter spoke and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say; they were overcome with awe. But a cloud formed, covering them in a shadow, and from the cloud came a voice, “This is My Son, the Beloved : listen to Him!”

And suddenly, as they looked around, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus with them. As they came down the mountain, He ordered them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this to themselves, although they discussed with one another what ‘to rise from the dead’ could mean.

Friday, 6 August 2021 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 5-6, 9

YHVH reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right, are His throne.

The mountains melt like wax before YHVH, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

For You are the Master of the universe, exalted far above all gods.

Friday, 6 August 2021 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white, as snow, His hair, white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.

Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Alternative reading

2 Peter 1 : 16-19

Indeed, what we taught you about the power, and the return of Christ Jesus our Lord, was not drawn from myths or formulated theories. We, ourselves, were eyewitnesses of His majesty, when He received glory and honour from God, the Father, when, from the magnificent glory, this most extraordinary word came upon Him : “This is My beloved Son, this is My Chosen One.”

We, ourselves, heard this voice from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. Therefore, we believe most firmly in the message of the prophets, which you should consider rightly, as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the break of day, when the Morning Star shines in your hearts.

Saturday, 31 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Leviticus 25 : 1, 8-17

YHVH spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai : “When seven Sabbaths of years have passed, that is, seven times seven years, there shall be the time of the seven weeks of years, that is forty-nine years. Then on the tenth day of the seventh month sound the trumpet loudly. On this Day of Atonement sound the trumpet all through the land.”

“Keep holy the fiftieth year and proclaim freedom for all the inhabitants of the land. It shall be a jubilation year for you when each one shall recover his property and go back to his family. In this fiftieth year, your year of Jubilee, you shall neither sow nor reap the aftergrowth, nor gather the grapes from the uncultivated vines. This Jubilee year shall be holy for you, and you shall eat what the field yields of itself without cultivation.”

“In this year of Jubilee each of you shall recover his own property. When you sell something to your neighbour or buy something from him, do not wrong one another. According to the number of years after the Jubilee, you shall buy it from your neighbour and according to the number of years left for harvesting crops he shall sell to you.”

“When the years are many the price shall be greater and when the years are few the price shall be less, for it is the number of crops that he is selling to you. So you shall not wrong one another but you shall fear your God, for I am YHVH, your God.”

Friday, 30 July 2021 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Leviticus 23 : 1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37

YHVH spoke to Moses, “Then there are appointed feasts of YHVH at the times fixed for them, when you are to proclaim holy assemblies. At twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month is YHVH’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of this month it is YHVH’s feast of Unleavened Bread.”

For seven days you shall eat bread without leaven. On the first day there will be a sacred assembly and no work of a worker shall be done. For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to YHVH and on the seventh day you shall hold a sacred assembly and do no work of a worker.”

YHVH spoke to Moses and said, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them : When you enter the land that I will give you and you reap its harvest, you will bring to the priest a sheaf, the first fruits of your harvest and he shall wave the sheaf before YHVH for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

“From the day after the Sabbath, on which you bring the sheaf of offering, you are to count seven full weeks. The day after the seventh Sabbath will be the fiftieth day and then you are to offer YHVH a new offering. The tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. You are to hold a sacred assembly. You must fast, and you must offer a burnt offering to YHVH.”

“The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of Tents for YHVH, lasting seven days. The first day you shall hold an assembly; you must do no work of a worker. For seven days you must offer a burnt offering to YHVH. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly and you must offer a burnt offering to YHVH. It is a day of solemn assembly in which you shall do no work of a worker.”

“These are the appointed feasts of YHVH in which you are to proclaim holy assemblies for the purpose of offering offerings by fire, burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings to YHVH, according to the ritual of each day.”