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, 16 March 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Today we heard about the well-known account on the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ our Lord on the mountain, when He was transformed and assumed His glory, as a premonition of what was to come for Him and for the world. Jesus was revealed to the three disciples, His closest ones, Peter, James and John, to be truly the One whom the Lord has favour with, the One who would save the world and renew it.

In the Transfiguration of Christ, the world is preempted with the rare look into the glory of Christ, before He is truly glorified at His resurrection from the dead. For Christ is the Logos, the Son of God, the Word of God who created everything, who is God and who is with God since the beginning of time and before. And as such, He is God Himself, who came down into this world in the form of human flesh in Jesus. And in Transfiguration, the glorious self that is His was revealed in its fullness for the first time to the world.

And the event of the Transfiguration itself would set the tone for the rest of the mission of Jesus in this world, leading up to His suffering and death on the cross, as the culmination of His divinely appointed mission. First of all, the Transfiguration established firmly without question that Jesus is the Messiah and the Holy One of God, whom the prophets and elders of the people had prophesied for, in many years leading up to His coming.

Moses and Elijah, who appeared to Jesus confirmed this fact, and again showed yet another fact about Christ, that He is to be a Leader and a Prophet, much as Moses and Elijah had done. As what Moses had done, in delivering the people of God from the slavery in Egypt, Jesus would, as the new Leader of all, bring all mankind, all peoples and take them away from their slavery to sin and evil.

And with Elijah, it was shown that Jesus was the culmination of the prophecies of the prophets, and He was the complete fulfillment of the law of God as revealed through the leaders and the prophets. And Jesus came to fulfill and make perfect the law of God, bringing them to the clear understanding by the people of God. Jesus is to lead us to a new life and one that is blessed and filled with the wisdom of God.

The Transfiguration reminds us of the many challenges and responsibilities that Jesus had taken up upon Himself. He brought Himself to be the atonement for the sins of the innumerable, and He made Himself punished so that we will not be punished as we deserve. Jesus on that mountain affirmed His love and dedication to the Lord, and He from then on was prepared to walk down the path towards His Passion, to die on the cross for our sake.

But in all His glory and power, Jesus did not become proud or boastful of what He has. He did not revel in His glory but remained perfectly obedient to the will of God His Father. And that was why, He did not remain there in His Transfiguration for eternity or for a long time, for He left the peak and went down the mountain with His disciples.

How does this relate to us then? If we remember that the disciples of Christ, led by Peter, asked the Lord whether they should pitch up a tent for each Jesus, Moses and Elijah, that they may stay there longer. When someone pitches a tent somewhere, he certainly will want to stay longer in the locality and remain there until the tent was removed.

We are often like Peter, that we are often reluctant to leave our comfort zone and lingered long in areas that gave us the greatest happiness and pleasure. That means, we do not want to go down the mountain, but remain there forever. This is why the Lord kindly reminded them, and all of us, through His words, that we ought to obey Him, and obeying Him means that we have to go down the mountain, and in doing so, face the reality of our lives.

Yes, we have our ups and downs. We certainly cannot always remain as either up or down, because we need to face the reality of this life, that there are often good things that we can enjoy, but there will also be hardships and inequalities, which we have to face eventually. We cannot remain on top of the mountain forever, for doing so means that we indulge in our power and glory.

Jesus willingly went down the mountain, knowing full well that He was heading to His own death, and yet He continued on and obeyed perfectly the will of God. Can we also do the same? Can we also seek to leave our zones of comfort and embrace the will of God as our own? Can we die to our pride and live humbly before God?

The answer to all of these is yes. And indeed, yes, we can, because what matters now is to give of ourselves to the Lord our God. Let us begin from now on, if we have not done so, to dedicate ourselves to the Lord, wholly obedient to the will of God. May He continue to bless us and keep us in His grace. Amen.

Sunday, 16 March 2014 : 2nd Sunday of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 17 : 1-9

Six days later, Jesus 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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Scripture Reflection)

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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 28-36

About eight days after Jesus had said all this, He 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 talking 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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

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

The Lord 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 the Lord, 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.