HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD
HOMILY THEME: THE GLORY BEYOND THE CROSS
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Today we celebrate a great feast in the Church. A memorial of that unique, special and unforgettable moment in the lives of Jesus and three of his disciples and of our faith, the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord. May the rays emanating from the essence of the transfigured Lord transfigure us also after our true essence and existence; Amen.
Every Sunday by its very liturgical nature is a Solemnity, “dies Domini – the day of the Lord.” The importance of today’s feast makes it that, unlike many other feasts, even when it falls on a Sunday it is celebrated. It is reminiscence and a celebration of that great moment on the Mountain when Jesus manifested his glory and majesty before three of his disciples “Peter, James and John”, a grand preparation for them before the humiliation of the Cross and much more a grandiose stabilization for them about the glory beyond the cross.
In the readings of today’s feast, we see a sequence very instructive to each and every one of us in our Christian life. The sequence that flows from the moment of prophecy, to the very point of fulfillment of prophecies and to the stage of witnessing which the first and second steps spur within us. In the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Dan 7:9-10, 13-14), we heard part of the prophecies of Daniel about “one like a son of man.” We must remember here that the expression “the Son of Man” is one of the most essential titles of Jesus in the Gospels. In this expression from the prophecy of Daniel, we have a prefiguration of the identity and person of Jesus Christ; specifically rooted on the mystery of the incarnation of the second person of the Blessed Trinity in the womb of the Holy Virgin. All prophecies find in Christ their culmination, a certain form of constellation of prophecies, and also the very fulfillment of them all. In the Gospel (Mt 17:1-9) we read that very existential moment when Peter, James and John made a unique experience of the identity and person of their Master and of His affinity with the Father through the words of that revelative voice from on high “this is my Son, the Beloved; He enjoys my favour. Listen to him.” The Second Reading (II Pet 1:16-19) unveils to us the influence of this unique experience on the disciples. They have become certain of who Jesus is! They know him in person and of His Person! They know his origin and mission! With this certitude Peter wrote “it is not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves.” This testimony of Saint Peter is a fruit of his personal experience of his Master.
From the Feast of today and also from the testimony of Saint Peter in the Second Reading, we learn that the knowledge of the true identity and person of Jesus is an invitation to mission. An invitation to become a witness of the message of our redemption to others just like Saint Peter! An invitation to be a missionary! A missionary is a person, a man or woman, young and old, adolescent and even child that knows the identity of Jesus and his message, who speaks of Jesus and who make others feel the presence of Jesus in their midst for himself or herself already had an indelible experience of Him. It is not possible to know the true identity and person of Jesus and not be a missionary, a testimony, just like Peter, of the truth you possess within. The great question for us all is; what image do I have of the person and identity of Jesus? Am I a testimony of His life, death and resurrection? Am I a missionary of His love? We can only make the glory of God alive and felt in our time by living concretely our knowledge of Him who has revealed Himself to us for “the glory of God is men and women fully alive!”
As Jesus manifested His glory and majesty before three of his disciples, may He manifest same in your life and family and through you to all those around you; Amen.
Happy Sunday and Feast.