Homily for Thursday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: WE WERE EYE WITNESSES OF HIS MAJESTY!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Thursday August 6 2020
* Dan 7 : 9 – 14, 2 Pet 1 : 16 -19, Mk 9 : 2 – 10.
Prophesy, revelation and vision are essential but delicate elements of Christian spirituality.
According to Bridge McKenna in her book ‘Miracles still do happen’, the gift of vision is the most delicate of all the spiritual gifts because it is the one that makes us ‘play God’ – it makes us see what only God is supposed to see and know what only God is supposed to know. The Bible says that ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God and to us his children, the revealed’, Deut 29 : 29. This is why we must be very careful with all these people who see a lot! In today’s 1st reading Daniel was shown a vision of the Ancient of Days. In the gospel the apostles were shown the same revelation with Moses and Elijah corroborating the facts of the revelation that Jesus Christ is now the supreme revelation of the divinity. St Peter harps on this motif in today’s 2nd reading where he reechoes the fact that they the mega apostles were “eye witnesses of his majesty”.
Faith is not as simple as knowing something about Jesus Christ but it is about knowing him and encountering him experientially and mystically. I think the purpose of the transfiguration was to bring the apostles’ level of knowledge of our Lord Jesus from ordinary to extraordinary, from theoretical to experiential knowledge and from physical to mystical knowledge. Religion is full of mysticism and unless we get to that realm we may not see the difference between Christianity and a mere social club just as we cannot see the difference now between Islam and a mere political movement.
The 2nd purpose of the transfiguration is to bring the apostles now to the level of complete obedience – the advanced level of Christian spirituality. It is a level mystics like St Theresa of Avilla calls the “Unitive Stage” where the disciple enters into a realm of followership where there is no going back because his/ her will has been unified with the will of Christ. This prayer from the Prayer Ministry at Elele is apt : JESUS I LOVE YOU ALL I HAVE IS YOURS. YOURS I AM YOURS I WANT TO BE . DO WITH ME WHAT THOU WILT. It is a deeply mystical prayer.At Tabor the apostles were emphatically told : THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, LISTEN TO HIM. Listening to Jesus is not easy especially when he makes very stringent demands of obedience from us. But unless we do that we are simply at the primary level of spirituality.The greatest problem in modern-day Christianity is the absence of transformational impact/ lack of spiritual encounter with Christ. Our opening prayer for today’s feast reads: ‘O God, who in the glorious transfiguration of your only begotten son confirmed the mysteries of faith by the witness of the fathers & wonderfully prefigured our full adoption to sonship, grant, we pray to your servants, that, listening to the voice of your beloved son, we may merit to become co-heirs with him through Christ our Lord’.
Today’s feast should therefore exert the following 2 impacts in our spiritual life:
1. CONFIRMATION OF THE MYSTERIES OF OUR FAITH: Pope John Paul II has helped us articulate the essential mysteries of light even in our rosary prayers as; Baptism of our Lord, Miracle of Cana, Preaching of the message of the kingdom, Transfiguration & Institution of the Holy Eucharist. The summation of these 5 basic theological events enables the Christian to quickly capture the essence of his/her Christian faith as constantly as possible.
2. OUR FULL ADOPTION TO SONSHIP: At the transfiguration it was necessary for the voice of the father, in the presence of the Old testament fathers (Moses & Elijah) to announce Jesus as his beloved son and enjoin us to listen constantly to his voice. It is only through this daily configuration to the obedience of the Word of God that we actually become Christians not through any sacramental rituals. ‘Baptism now saves us, not by washing of bodily guilt, but by the pledge of a good conscience’, 1 Pet 3:21.My take on today’s readings is that we need such personal encounter as we have in the event of transfiguration – a transcendental leap of faith as Soren Kierkegaard calls it and a fundamental option for Christ through a daily devotion to the obedience of God’s word in the scriptures. That’s the only meaning of being born-again. We must take up a new sonship- a new son to father relationship. ‘All those who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God…& have received the spirit of adoption that enables us to call God ‘Abba father” , Rom 8:14.
May God bless you today!