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Saturday, 05 August 2023 12:20

The Transfiguration of the Lord - Year A - 2023

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestWhenever I have the chance, I watch a movie every now and then. Sometimes there is something at the movies that catches my attention and if I have the time, I’ll go and watch it as my form of stress-reducing recreation.

Almost every time before the movie proper, there are film clips about what kind of movies are coming up in the next week or so. It’s like a sneak peek of what’s next. Not giving away everything but somehow enticing us to come back to the movie house because they have something nice to offer.

Transfiguration TwitterJesus, in today’s gospel, had just told his disciples the he would be arrested, suffer, die and rise on the third day. That must have made Peter, John and James and the other disciples distraught. They would have been tremendously demoralised about this prediction. Are they following the right Messiah? Is he another hoax? Why would he need to die? What would happen to them?

So Jesus went to Mount Tabor with Peter, James and John and showed them something that they would never forget for the rest of their lives. He gave them a “sneak peek” of his “other” nature. Up to now, they had seen Jesus’ human nature. This time, they’ll have the opportunity to see his divine nature.

So seemingly out of nowhere, his clothes became dazzlingly white and then Moses and Elijah seemed to be talking with Jesus. Peter, James and John must have been overwhelmed by what they saw. Peter in his delight at what he saw, asked if they could just stay there forever and build three booths, one for Jesus, one of Moses and one for Elijah.

We ask ourselves, why did Jesus transfigure? Would this experience help the faith of his disciples?

Firstly, Jesus wanted to let his disciples see that while he is fully human, he is also fully divine. And by showing them his divine nature, he wanted to assure them that he is more than just a human being, that he would be able to overcome all the adverse things that would happen to him.

Secondly, by the disciples seeing Elijah and Moses, this reinforced their belief that Jesus was the fulfilment of the prediction of the prophets and it told them that Jesus was the real thing. He was the one that they were waiting for and he was now proceeding to complete his destiny of dying for our sins and resurrecting after the third day as a sign that he had conquered sin and death.

Now, did this experience help his disciples? We would like to think so and I think it did, but to different degrees. Peter, on his part, succumbed to the pressures of some maidservants and denied Jesus three times. James was one of the disciples who scampered away when Jesus was arrested and we didn’t hear anything from him after that until after the resurrection. For John though, he may have also left Jesus but he was there at his dying moments under the cross with Jesus’ mother.

For us, we may never have been there at the Transfiguration but our encounter with Jesus in his body and blood every Sunday must also have the same effect. Are we being strengthened by his body and blood to be able to overcome the struggles of the journey towards the kingdom of God? Definitely, we will encounter challenges and some of them are quite immense. But the strength that the body and blood of Christ gives us every Sunday hopefully will be an immense help in persevering our Christian life.

Last modified on Saturday, 05 August 2023 12:57