Liturgical Colour : White
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a great feast in the Church, that is the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, when our Lord is transformed into His true divine nature on top of the mountain, and seen by the disciples Peter, James, and John, together with Moses and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets of God.
Yes, Christ our Lord and Saviour is indeed our God and divine in His nature, and He, through His birth by our Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, is also human in nature, the Word of God made flesh and man by the power of the Holy Spirit that reside within the womb of Mary. He is in His nature, fully and completely divine as well as fully and completely human at the same time, separate yet one, one in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Yes, our Lord is human, and He has human emotions as well, the love and compassion He has for all of us. He was overwhelmed with sorrow when Lazarus, His beloved friend died and when He witnessed the sorrow of his sisters, Martha and Mary. He showed compassion to the people gathered to listen to His sermons and speeches when they were hungry and without food. He showed compassion and love to the widows and people with afflictions and showed to all of them His great love.
Yet He is also fully divine, the Son of God, who revealed the fullness of His glory to the three of His disciples on the mountain, an occasion which we celebrate today as the Transfiguration. He revealed the truth about Himself and the truth about His power and glory to the three disciples, showing that He is not a mere human, neither is He merely another of the prophets, nor is He merely a liar. Yes, He is the divine Son of God, the Word of God made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the Blessed Virgin Mary, was made man, fully human, as the Son of Man.
Then, what is the significance of Moses and Elijah appearing to Jesus on the mountain during His Transfiguration and speaking to Him about His death? The significance is that Jesus is the perfect embodiment of what Moses and Elijah each had embodied, as the greatest of the servants the Lord had sent into this world. Moses embodied the Law of God, the commandments and precepts He had given to His people to follow, while Elijah embodied the teaching authority of the prophets granted by the Lord. Jesus, as the Word of God made flesh is the greatest of all the prophets, delivering directly God’s will and message to mankind, and He also perfectly fulfilled all the prophecies the prophets had told about Him, the awaited Messiah, the awaited Saviour of all men.
In Jesus Christ lie our salvation, the perfection of the Law God had granted us, that is the commandments of love, through His explanation and His revelation on the truth about God and His laws, as well as the fulfillment of the prophecies and the teachings of the prophets in all its perfection. All of these, through His birth, His life, His works and ministries, and finally completed with His suffering and death on the cross, that cross on Calvary, and all are completed, just as He said “It is completed.” Yes, the completion of the grand plan on salvation God had prepared for all of us, that we can finally escape the slavery under sin, into freedom of eternal life in God.
However, to reach there, and to complete the plan, Christ had to bear our sins and our faults, as the sacrificial Lamb, the Lamb of God who bared Himself for us, in our place, and suffer instead of us. For we deserve to be punished severely for our sins, and not just any sins, but the persistence and the heaviness of our sins and evils that we have committed since the days of Adam and Eve our ancestors. Our Lord Jesus is without sin and pure, although He is indeed fully human like us, and yet He was made to bear our sins and our punishment in our place, that we will not suffer and experience death allotted to us for our rebelliousness, but instead have a new hope of eternal life and bliss.
He has to suffer, drink the cup of bitterness that God had given Him to drink, and die a prisoner’s death, a criminal’s death on the cross, judged by a Roman governor, condemned by His own people, scourged with lashes and crooks, and pierced by nails and elevated high between the heaven and the earth, all for our sake. Yet, He came down from that mountain where He showed His glory to His disciples, from the place where He manifested Himself as the great and glorious God, into His suffering and Passion, on the way to Jerusalem to die.
The disciples did not understand this, nor why did Christ do so, and what they wanted was that they remain in that wonderful place, in the fullness of the glory of God, that is because they have tasted heaven on earth on that mountain, and certainly they did not want to leave that feeling behind, that happiness and joy being in the glory and perfection of the Lord. That was why Peter suggested to Jesus to build three tents for Himself, for Moses, and for Elijah.
Christ could simply choose to stay there at the place for eternity, because indeed, He is God, and everything is within His power to do. He can remain forever in His great glory, and He did not have to face suffering, rejection, pain, and death. However, Christ knew what must be done, and despite the vast extent of suffering that He must go through in order to save us from our own destruction, His love for us is so great, that He is willing to go through all that, for our sake. He left His comfort zone, that He can exercise what He had come to this world for, that is to be our Saviour.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate today this great feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us take some time to reflect on ourselves, on our own actions and deeds. Have we overcome our fear of what is outside our comfort zone, and dared to take a step outside that comfort zone, so that we can make use of whatever gifts and talents God had given us, in order to bring love, comfort, and happiness to one another? Or have we chosen to be like the disciples, who prefer to remain in their comfort zone forever?
Brothers and sisters, to follow Christ means to take up our crosses and follow Him, through difficulties and oppositions that will surely face us in this uphill battle we have to reach our salvation in Christ. It does not mean that we should all suffer or die the same way that Christ had suffered or died for our sake, but certainly it means that it will not be easy either. We have to go the extra mile brothers and sisters, in our service and dedication to the people of God, especially those who are poor, in material and in spirit, and those who lack love in them, those who are unloved and forsaken.
Just as Christ chose to go down from the mountain and face His suffering to come proudly and courageously, we too should follow the example Christ had given us, going down that mountain, and gladly make ourselves available to others, sharing our love with them, bearing one another’s crosses on the way to God and His salvation. Let us be courageous to go an extra mile, stepping outside our comfort zone in our service to God and His people.
Do not fear, brothers and sisters in Christ! For the Lord Transfigured on the mountain and glorified in His might will always be with us, and He will bless us tremendously if we follow in His footsteps, carrying our crosses, in our journey, sharing the love and the Spirit He had given to all of us who have faith in Him with one another. May the Lord Jesus Transfigured bless all of us and our endeavours, and remain with us forever. Amen.