CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 18TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: Real and close encounter with the Lord transforms and transfigures.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
HOMILY: READINGS: Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14, Ps. 97, 2 Peter 1: 16-19, Matthew 17: 1-9
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Transfiguration of the Lord which is one of the mysteries of Light. It is a mystery of light because it brings to us the hidden life and nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. It sheds light in the souls of the apostles of inner circle Peter, James and John. It removed the darkness that would have shrouded the mind of Peter and threw in the light of glory which was more manifest in the life of Peter. Here Peter like the other two saw the great light of heaven thrown upon their soul and they got transformed and transfigured. By transformation we mean that the form of which they were made was changed to what it ought to be when we go to heaven. It was a transfiguration because the figure and physical image of Jesus was changed to something luminous and the great light from the scene was more than beholding and put confusion in the human mind of Peter who never knew that such a thing exists and who by then did not know the glory of the Lord, his great power and authority, where he comes from and what those who believe in him and follow him closely to the end would witness and partake. This is an event which the Lord Jesus allowed the three apostles to witness so that they have a lasting knowledge and impression about the mystery of the person of Jesus and what he has come to teach. It would aid them to bring the teaching with strong faith and conviction to the rest of the disciples and to the world today. Seeing where Jesus came from and would return back to and seeing how important Moses and Elijah held him, the scandal of dying on the cross like a common criminal would make no meaning anymore. Little wonder then their conviction was so unflinching and leading to their testimony about Jesus and death for what they saw and believed.
Beloved, one of the important lessons that this event deposited in our heart and did in our faith is that we are more convinced that there is heaven and that the blessed who lived a holy life and encountered God truly have a place in God and still lives after death and are in union with God. It makes us know according to the first reading that there exists thrones and there is one of great age who has no beginning and was so described in a mysterious and terrifying manner. The one of great age is God the Father who sits on the highest throne. This throne is fiery with flames and its wheels were burning fire, a stream of fire issued and came from before him, a thousand upon thousands fail at his feet and served him. Before him the court sat in judgment and the book of judgment opened for him to make the final verdict on all creatures especially man. Around this throne reveals the presence of the Son of Man-Jesus. He lives on because he was also of the ancient ages and was not made, rather he is one in being with the Father and consubstantial with him. Little wonder he said that before Abraham he is. His person was made very clear that all dominion and glory and kingdom and all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. This is the Jesus we have that Peter saw in this glorious state. And so Peter had to reveal that what he teaches is not cleverly invented myths but spoke from an eye witness account with conviction and so cannot be deterred by anyone’s argument and disbelief.
Beloved, in this event, God made a further revelation of his Son as he did at his baptism: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. So Peter advices us to do well in paying attention to this man and his teachings. In a close and true encounter with God, we get enwrapped and our human deficiencies and selfishness disappear. This is why Peter was so selfless in his pronouncement: Let us build three tents for Jesus, Elijah and Moses and could not think of himself and the other apostles. Yes it is well to be here because it is so marvellous and glorious and so indescribable. Here all comes to acknowledge the great authority of Jesus showing that with the appearance of Elijah, all prophecies were made to have their fulfilment in Jesus and all the Laws as well with the appearance of Moses. It showed the unity between the Old and the New which Jesus is the bridge that joined them and through him we shall walk through both Testaments.
Beloved, let us work towards realizing this heaven where Jesus Christ is king, the Most High above all the earth. May we rejoice at beholding this vision after our earthly sojourn; before him mountains melt like was and may the mountain of iniquities in us melt before him. Let us remain focused at this man of great light and mystery for heaven is real, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf