Saturday, 6 August 2022 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates one of the great Feasts of the Lord, namely that of the Transfiguration of the Lord, commemorating the moment when Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, Saviour of the world was unveiled in all of His unbridled glory before three of His disciples at the top of Mount Tabor, as He revealed the truth about Himself before the three disciples, of Who He truly is, and what His mission in this world was all about. And through the Transfiguration, each and every one of us as Christians are also called to reflect on our own lives, and how we have each been called to be transformed through our faith as well, in our lives.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Daniel, the revelation of truth from the ancient prophet, as he received the heavenly vision of God seated on His Throne in Heaven. Not only that, but peculiarly, the vision included the vision of One of Great Age and one Son of Man, which prefigured the relationship between the Father and the Son in the Holy Trinity, as Daniel saw how the One of Great Age granted power, dominion and glory to the Son of Man, Whose kingdom and dominion will not end till the end of time and beyond. In essence, Daniel had seen Christ Himself, as a premonition of all the things that would come.

In our alternative first reading from the Epistle of St. Peter, we heard the account of the Transfiguration itself from St. Peter, which together with our Gospel passage today revealed to us what happened on that day at Mount Tabor. The Lord Jesus unveiled His hidden glory, power and majesty to His three disciples, St. Peter, St. James and St. John in order to show them a glimpse of the truth about Himself and His mission in this world. The Lord appeared to them in all of His glory, His raiments dazzling white and pure, while Moses and Elijah came to attend to Him, which in itself is a very symbolic occurrence.

For Moses and Elijah’s presence symbolised the Lord’s true nature and also His mission in this world, as Moses represented the Law of God and the commandments that He has spoken to him and passed through him to the Israelites, while Elijah represented all the prophets and messengers of God, through whom God had spoken many times, calling on all of them to repentance and to be reconciled to Him, as well as the prophecies they had delivered regarding the coming of a great Saviour, the Holy One of God Whom He had promised to all the people from the very beginning.

Therefore, Moses and Elijah represented how Christ came into this world, to be the manifestation of God’s Law and truth, His many prophecies and promises made to all of us mankind. He is the Son of Man that Daniel had seen in his heavenly vision, and He is also at the same time, the Divine Word Incarnate, the Son of God through Whom God had willed this world and all creation into being. He is truly the personification and perfect manifestation of the Law, through Whom God also made manifest His love for each and every one of us. Hence, the disciples who were there that day at Mount Tabor, saw the Lord Jesus as Who He truly was, not just merely a Man, but the Divine Son of God in the flesh.

That, brothers and sisters in Christ, is the first significance of Transfiguration of the Lord for all of us. Through that moment of Transfiguration, the world in darkness and sin have seen the great light of God, which was seen by the Apostles, who then passed on the testimony of that truth and revelation to all of us. Through the Transfiguration we realise that God Himself has come down to dwell among us, His Son in the flesh, revealed to us in all of His glory and majesty, and through Whom all of us receive the assurance of eternal life and salvation, if we have trust and faith in Him, and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.

Then, the other significance of the Transfiguration of the Lord is, although more subtle, that the Lord is calling us to be ‘transfigured’ ourselves together with Him. Each and every one of us, the children of man had been made pure and perfect, blameless and spotless, meant for greatness and perfect joy with the Lord, as how God intended it all to be. Yet, by our sins and disobedience which brought about those sins, we and our ancestors from the beginning of time had sundered ourselves from that love and grace of God, all that should have been ours should we remain fully faithful to Him. Instead, we sought for worldly pleasures and joys rather than to trust in God.

That is why we have often ignored God’s love and compassion towards us. And that kept us defiled and corrupted, separated from the fullness of God’s love and grace. The Lord is calling on each and every one of us to follow Him and to be faithful to Him once again, breaking free from the chains of sin and evil that shackled us and kept us away from God. That will require each one of us to embrace God wholeheartedly and commit ourselves to a new life and existence in God, essentially transforming our lives from one that is sinful and worldly into lives that are worthy of God.

The Lord through His Transfiguration has shown us all what we mankind are called to be like, in our future state, to be good and perfect once again, and rid from the sins and wickedness that have once corrupted and enslaved us. The Lord has called on us to aspire to this state of life, free from the burdens of our past sins, but we do need to seek the Lord and allow Him to transform our lives, allowing Him to touch our hearts and minds and guiding us down the right path so that we may find our way to His loving presence and return to His embrace. Each one of us as Christians have been called to embrace the Transfiguration of Our Lord in anticipation of our own.

But that also requires us to embark on a journey of faith through life, which more often than not may lead us through challenges and trials, sufferings and persecutions. All those challenges may be difficult for us to endure, and we may be tempted to give up the struggle and return to our comfort zone. That was exactly what the Lord also showed us at the moment of His Transfiguration, that while He revealed the upcoming glory of His true nature, of the glory of our everlasting life with Him, but in order to achieve that, He had to go through intense sufferings and pains, as He went down Mount Tabor and told His disciples to follow Him, reinforced by the Father’s own words calling on them to obey the Son.

He went down the mountain and from there onwards, He would go on to His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross before He rose in glory at His Resurrection, and proved that all that He had revealed and foretold at His Transfiguration were all true. Are we willing and able to make the commitment to follow the Lord too, brothers and sisters in Christ, and even to suffer for His sake? Let us all commit ourselves to follow the path of our Transfigured Lord, Who has revealed before us the sure path to His salvation and grace. Let us all turn towards Him with hope and dedication, and do whatever we can to glorify Him by our lives, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 6 August 2022 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 28b-36

At that time, six days after Jesus predicted His own death, He took with Him Peter and James and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. Jesus’ appearance was changed before them : His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became bright as light. Just then Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus.

Peter spoke and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. If You wish, I will make three tents : one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter was still speaking, when a bright cloud covered them with its shadow, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My Son, the Beloved, My Chosen One. Listen to Him.”

On hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the ground, full of fear. But Jesus came, touched them and said, “Stand up, do not be afraid.” When they raised their eyes, they no longer saw anyone except Jesus. And as they came down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what they had just seen, until the Son of Man be raised from the dead.

Saturday, 6 August 2022 : 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.

Saturday, 6 August 2022 : 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.

Sunday, 13 March 2022 : Second Sunday of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 9 : 28b-36

At that time, Jesus took Peter, John and James, and went up the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the aspect of His face was changed, and His clothing became dazzling white. Two men were taking with Jesus : Moses and Elijah. Appearing in the glory of heaven, Moses and Elijah spoke to Jesus about His departure from this life, which was to take place in Jerusalem.

Peter and His companions had fallen asleep; but they awoke suddenly, and they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. As Moses and Elijah were about to leave, Peter – not knowing what to say – said to Jesus, “Master, how good it is for us to be here! Let us make three tents, one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

And no sooner had he spoken, than a cloud appeared and covered them; and the disciples were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then these words came from the cloud, “This is My Son, My Beloved, listen to Him.” And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was there alone. The disciples kept this to themselves at the time, telling no one of anything they had seen.

Saturday, 19 February 2022 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Mark 9 : 2-13

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.

Finally they asked Him, “Why then do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus answered them, “Of course Elijah will come first, so that everything may be as it should be. But why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be despised? I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they have treated him as they pleased, as the Scriptures say of him.”

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.