Cycle A The Transfiguration of the Lord

 Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14; 2 Pet. 1:16-19; Mt. 17:1-9

Dear brothers and sisters today we celebrate the feast of Transfiguration of Jesus. This extraordinary incident, recorded in the Gospels, illuminates the divine glory of Jesus Christ.

The Transfiguration is a pivotal moment in the life of Jesus.  He took three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, up a mountain to pray. As He prayed, a wondrous transformation occurred: His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became dazzling white. Additionally, Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Him. The divine presence was undeniable, and the voice of God proclaimed, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him."

In Hans Christian Andersen's classic story "The Ugly Duckling," we find a powerful parallel to the Transfiguration. The story revolves around a young duckling who looks different from the others, ridiculed for his appearance and struggling with his identity. As the days pass, the duckling faces hardship, but eventually, a transformation occurs, revealing him to be a beautiful swan. The once rejected duckling becomes a magnificent swan, embodying grace and beauty.

In Old Testament we see that Moses and Elijah had remarkable encounters with God. In Exodus 34:29-35, we read about Moses' face radiating after speaking with the Lord, representing the divine presence within him. Similarly, in 1 Kings 19:11-13, Elijah experiences God's presence not in the powerful wind, earthquake, or fire, but in the gentle whisper. These Old Testament incidents foreshadow the Transfiguration, where Jesus, as the fulfilment of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), displays His divine glory.

The presence of God's glory can be seen in various aspects of our world and human experience.

The peaceful end of apartheid in South Africa demonstrated the possibility of reconciliation and forgiveness, even in the face of deep-seated division and hatred. Figures like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu played pivotal roles in leading the nation towards healing and unity, showing how God's presence can guide us towards transformation and restoration.

The Transfiguration of Jesus shows the significance of seeking divine guidance in times of confusion and conflict. We should turn to God in prayer during times of unrest and to seek His wisdom and strength in resolving differences peacefully.

In a diverse country like India, the Manipur riots, which may have been fuelled by hatred and fear, leading to violence and destruction can serve as a reminder of the importance of embracing cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity. Jesus' glory was revealed not only to His closest disciples but also to Moses and Elijah, representing the continuity of God's work through different ages and people.

We are all shocked by the news of atrocities in Manipur. Just as Jesus went up the mountain to pray and seek divine guidance, we, too, should pray for peace in Manipur. Pray for healing, reconciliation, and an end to violence. Seek God's wisdom and direction in how we can actively contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the region.

Like Moses and Elijah, we must seek the presence of God through prayer and introspection. The noise of the world can often distract us from hearing His gentle voice. It is in moments of silence and stillness that we can truly encounter the divine.

Just as God's voice affirmed Jesus as His beloved Son during the Transfiguration, this event reassures us of God's presence in our lives. In times of doubt, fear, and uncertainty, we can find comfort in knowing that God is with us, guiding and supporting us on our journey.

As we reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus, we should remember that we, too, have the potential for transformation and divine encounters in our lives. May this feast help us to become like the radiant swans, sharing the light of God's love with the world.