The Transfiguration of Jesus took place on Mount Tabor. Mountains have been places where people encounter the divine. Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac on a mountain in Moriah, (Gen 22); the Lord gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, (Ex 20); Prophet Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, (1 Kg 18:17-40); Jesus gave his sermon which included the Beatitudes on a mountain, (Mt 5-7); and Jesus was crucified on Golgotha which was a mountain.

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ which took place after Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ and Jesus’ prediction of his death and resurrection was both an eureka moment and an ‘aha’ experience for his disciples!

During his Transfiguration, the human body that veils the divinity of Christ was lifted in the context of his prayer with three of his disciples. For we read in the Gospel that “Jesus took with him Peter, and John and James and went up the mountain to pray”. (Lk 9:28). When the disciples experienced the divinity of Jesus they exclaimed through Peter, “Lord, it is wonderful to be here”. They realised instantaneously, that Jesus is the fulfilment of the covenant God made with Abraham, (the first Reading), whose unflinching faith in God made him justified. They also came to the awareness that Jesus is the gate to heaven because at Jesus’ Transfiguration, his disciples also communed with the saints in glory in the person of two Old Testament Pillars – Moses and Elijah. Moses and Elijah, in their communication with Jesus about his upcoming passion, death and resurrection, handed over the baton to him as the fulfiller of Old Testament Laws and Prophesies.

Hence, the Transfiguration of Jesus should be interpreted within the context of his paschal mystery – his suffering, death and resurrection. We are now invited to put our faith and trust in Jesus who has set us free through his Cross and Resurrection. Just as Abraham put his faith in God, so are we invited to have unwavering faith in Jesus who as the new Moses and Elijah would lead us to the promised land where God is all in all.
Today as we reflect on the Transfiguration of Christ, I invite you to also consider on how the message of Christ can foster true reconciliation in our lives, our families, our communities and in the world at large.
Reconciliation comes through hard work. I acknowledge that there are people who are enemies of peace and reconciliation. Since they thrive in the midst of discord and fighting, they are eager to sow the seed of hatred and dissension by igniting family, ethnic, cultural, or inter-border conflicts or wars.

Today, I invite you to consider ways you can be an agent of reconciliation in your family and community. True reconciliation is brought about when we admit our faults rather than excusing them and acknowledge the hurt our actions or in-actions have caused others. Concomitant to admitting our faults is the resolve not to re-offend and to restore as much as possible what we have damaged by our bad behaviour.

In this regard, the apology to the Aboriginal people by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2007 was a move in the right direction toward reconciliation with them, but that is not enough; ways should also be found to recognise them in the Australian Constitution.

St Paul declared that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, and now he has entrusted us with the task of passing on the news that the world has been reconciled. (2 Cor 5:19). Through our Lenten observances of prayer, fasting and almsgiving may people experience through our words and deeds this Good News of God’s Reconciliation.

Fr Chinua Okeke CSSp

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