Tuesday, 6 August 2019 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, recalling the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, was revealed in all of His divine and heavenly glory on Mount Tabor before three of His Apostles, St. Peter, St. James and St. John. At that moment, the two greatest among the Lord’s servants from the time of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah appeared at Mount Tabor and talked with the Lord Jesus.

This important moment of the Transfiguration is a very powerful and vivid revelation of the truth of God, in revealing before His people, albeit only the select few at first, what He was going to do to fulfil His Covenant and the promises He had made to His people throughout the ages. Through the Transfiguration, the three Apostles, as representatives of humanity, witnessed Who the Lord Jesus truly is, as a person fully God and fully Man united in His person.

At that moment, the Lord revealed a glimpse of His true heavenly glory, as the Divine Word of God, Incarnate in the flesh, fully and completely God as shown by the pure white and dazzling appearance of His Transfigured Self, while still remaining fully Man in the flesh. And through this same Person, through Jesus Christ, all of mankind were about to receive their salvation and liberation from the tyranny of sin and bondage to death.

In the Transfiguration we see in fact a prefigurement and revelation of what will happen to us all in the end, when we remain faithful and committed to the Lord, as He will glorify us and our whole existence, in the body and spirit to be glorified and exalted just as Christ has been glorified and exalted at Mount Tabor. All of us through the fulfilment of the Covenant of God have received the assurance from Him that we shall receive the fullness of God’s glorious inheritance.

Just as the Lord Jesus revealed His divinity that is united to His humanity, through the Transfiguration the Lord unites our humanity to His own humanity, and all of us who share in His humanity now receive the glory of our future existence with God. Essentially, we see in Christ the reflection of our own future glorious self, the true calling for us all mankind who have not been intended to live in sin and darkness, but in the fullness of light as God’s beloved children.

By our sins we have been made dirty, corrupted and unworthy, and sin is caused by our conscious rejection and refusal of God’s generous love. Sin has caused us to lose that glory which should have been ours from the beginning, the true nature of ourselves, and not the sinful and wicked selves we have now. But the Lord, through His Transfiguration, has shown us all that through Him, we can once again be wholesome as we have been intended to.

At the same time, through what happened in the Transfiguration, when the Lord Jesus met and talked with Moses and Elijah, the Lord also willingly revealed to His people about the mission which He has been sent into this world for, as the Saviour of all. Moses and Elijah were among two of the most important persona in the whole of the Old Testament and were counted among the ones closest to God, as His faithful servants.

Moses represented the Law which God had first revealed through him in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the collection of which made up the entirety of the Mosaic laws of Israel that were preserved through the many centuries after, centred on the Ten Commandments that God has also given at the same time. And Moses was also symbolic of God’s saving help and grace for His people, as He led His people out of Egypt from their slavery into freedom.

Meanwhile, Elijah was among the greatest of the many prophets of the Old Testament era, and he performed many good works and miracles for the Lord before His people, struggling against numerous challenges and obstacles in his prophetic ministry and journey. He proclaimed the truth of God and called the people to repent and turn away from their sins, to reject the pagan idols of Baal and other Canaanite false gods and embrace the Lord YHVH, their one and only true God.

He had to endure a lot of difficulties, on the run from his enemies that included the king and especially Jezebel the queen and many of the powerful men in the kingdom of Israel and the priesthood of Baal among many others. He had to strive alone against the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal as they contested at the Mount Carmel who the true God is, whether it was YHVH or Baal.

That these two servants of God appeared before the Lord Jesus at the moment of His Transfiguration served to reveal before us the mission of Our Lord and Saviour, Who like Moses has been sent to all of us, God’s people, to deliver us. But while the Israelites were delivered from the slavery under the Egyptians and their Pharaoh, through Christ all of us mankind have been delivered from the slavery under sin.

And like Elijah, the Lord proclaimed the salvation of God to His people, performing wonderful miracles and power to show the true extent of God’s love and mercy for His beloved people, calling on them to turn away from sin and to embrace God’s love fully, through the Law of God, first revealed through Moses and now, explained in its fullness by Christ Himself, to bring all of us closer to God.

Therefore, God has revealed before us today, through His glorious Transfiguration at Mount Tabor, what we all can become if we truly believe in Him and put our complete faith and trust in Him. He has come into this world to reveal His truth and wisdom to us, and to show us how we can find our way to reach the promised glory, true happiness and inheritance He has promised us in the Covenant He had made with us.

But we must then take note of the action of the Lord Jesus and that of His disciples in the latter part of today’s Gospel passage. The three disciples wanted to stay on in that place as it must indeed have felt so wonderful to be present in the plain view and experience of the Lord’s glory on that mountain. They wanted to make three tents for the Lord, Moses and Elijah each precisely because they wanted that blissful experience to remain with them.

However, the Lord reminded them to obey the will of God, and the Lord Jesus led them down the mountain, leaving the glorious moment of His Transfiguration and soon after, embracing the moment of His Passion, suffering and death, where He would lay down His life and perform the ultimate loving sacrifice on the Cross for our salvation. And this is a reminder to each and every one of us that we should be aware that being Christians, as followers of Our Lord, more often than not we will encounter sufferings and challenges as part of our lives.

But we must always keep up hope in the Lord, remembering that despite the challenges and sufferings we may have to endure, at the end, the ever loving and faithful God will glorify us and give us the fullness of our promised inheritance, and the Transfigured Body of Christ will also be ours as we who are worthy will be transfigured and glorified in the same way to enjoy forever God’s loving grace.

May the Lord continue to guide us on our journey and may He continue to bless us and our good works in our daily living so that each and every one of us may strive to be ever faithful despite the challenges and obstacles we may encounter in our daily living. Amen.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019 : 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.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019 : 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, 23 February 2019 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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.”

Monday, 6 August 2018 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, celebrating the moment when Our Lord Jesus Christ was glorified and revealed the full truth about Himself, as the Son of Man Who is also the Son of God, fully Man and fully Divine. On that day, at the peak of Mount Tabor, the full truth about Christ’s nature was revealed to all of us through His disciples, St. Peter, St. James and St. John.

The Lord revealed that He was not just like that of any other prophets or messengers of God who preceded Him. In fact, He is God Himself Who incarnated Himself in the flesh of Man through the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, via the womb of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is fully God, for His divinity was never diminished by His assumption of humanity, and He is also fully Man, experiencing all that we experience save that for sin.

And He is truly the Messiah long awaited by the people of God, to whom God promised the coming of His deliverance. The appearance of Moses and Elijah, among the greatest and most prominent ones among God’s servants affirmed this truth. For Moses represented the Law of God, which He gave to His people through Moses, and Jesus is the fulfilment of the Law, while Elijah represented the prophets of God, and as mentioned, the prophecies were all fulfilled in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is the significance about this event of the Transfiguration of the Lord today? It is aplenty, especially for all of us. Now, let us all remember that I just mentioned how the Lord Jesus is fully God and fully Man, united in His one person, indivisible and yet distinct. And by sharing fully in our humanity, save for that of sin, He has shown us all, who we are expected to become, to be the perfect Man, free from sin and from all chains that prevented us from becoming what God intended for us to be.

For God certainly never intended for any one of us to enter into suffering or trials in this world, and neither did He intend for us to be condemned into hell. We have been created to partake in the fullness of God’s love, shared freely with each and every one of us. Unfortunately, our disobedience led us to sin, and sin caused us to be separated and sundered from this grace and love of God.

That is why, it is imperative that each and every one of us take the necessary steps to ensure that we are moving towards that ideal and perfect state, which can be achieved only through faith and total commitment towards God. And this means that we should walk in God’s path and devote ourselves to do His will, in each and every action we take in life. It is important that we adhere to this, or otherwise, we may be distracted and fall off the path due to the temptations and challenges we face in life.

And then, it is also important we take note how we will encounter difficulties and challenges in our lives, especially if we should choose to commit ourselves to God. The same challenges and persecution have been faced by the Lord Himself, as He faced many opposition and obstacles to His works among His people. He was rejected and condemned by the priests and by the Pharisees, and many others refused to listen to Him or to believe Him.

But the Lord did not let His glory to impede Him from fulfilling His mission. He went down the mountain despite the desire of the three disciples to remain in the blissful glory on Mount Tabor. He and His disciples went down the mountain, eventually heading towards His Passion, suffering and most painful death, all so that each and every one of us, through the ultimate sacrifice Christ paid on the cross, may have life and eternal glory with Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today first of all rejoice because God is so loving and so merciful towards each and every one of us, that He has given us the perfect gift of His Son, through Whom the truth about our salvation has been revealed to us. And then, let us all know the sacrifices and difficulties that each and every one of us may have to face in the midst of living our lives as good Christians.

Let us all face those challenges with courage and strength, just as the resolution shown by the Lord, when He chose to come down the mountain of His glory, and down towards His crucifixion and death. Let us all follow the examples and the humility of Our Lord, in obeying fully the will of God, and by doing what He has told us to do, we may bring ourselves ever closer to Him and keep ourselves ever steady on His path, to the time when He calls us back to Himself. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 6 August 2018 : Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

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.