Sunday Homily by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD (Australia)
2nd Sunday Lent
Whenever I have the chance, I would watch a movie every now and then. Sometimes there is something at the movies that would catch 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 always film clips on what kind of movies that would be 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.
Jesus in the gospel had just told his disciples the he will be arrested, suffer, die and rise on the third day. That must have distraught Peter, John and James and the other disciples. 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. Since this time they have seen Jesus’ human nature. This time, they’ll have the opportunity to see his divine nature.
So seemed 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 of what he saw, he 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 transfigured? Would this experience help the faith of his disciples?
Firstly, Jesus wanted to let his disciples that while he is fully human, he is also fully divine. And by showing them divine nature, he wanted to assure them that he is more than just a human being that he would be able to overcome all adversaries that would happen to him.
Secondly, by the disciples seeing Elijah and Moses, this reinforces their belief that Jesus is the fulfilment of the prediction of the prophets and tells them that Jesus is the real thing. He is the one that they’re waiting for and he is now proceeding to complete his destiny of dying for our sins and resurrecting after the third day as a sign that he has conquered sin and death.
Now, did this experience help his disciples? We would like to think so and I think it did but on different degrees. Peter on his part, succumbed to the pressures of some maid servants and denied Jesus three times. For James, he 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 in the transfiguration but our encounter with Jesus in his body and blood every Sunday must also have the same effect. And 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 would be an immense help in persevering our Christian life.