Kuwait City, 14-16.03.2014.
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
While on his final journey towards Jerusalem, Jesus once went up a high mountain and was transfigured before three of his apostles so that they might see his divine glory. The word transfiguration come from the verb to transfigure which according to the dictionary definition means ‘a change of form or appearance so as to elevate or idealize’. The Transfiguration of Jesus occurred for two reasons: the first was a confirmation of Jesus’ mission. He received double approval for his future sacrifice, from the prophets Moses and Elijah, and from the voice of his heavenly Father. The second reason was to confirm the faith of the apostles and reveal to them the true meaning of Messiahship, which meant sacrificing himself on Calvary and then rising from dead to eternal glory for our salvation.
Two distinct moments are evident during the event. The first is the reaction of Peter and those present, upon seeing Jesus in his glory alongside Moses and Elijah: Lord, it is good that we are here. It is the experience of persons who have been enlightened by the presence of Christ in their midst. They witnessed for an instant, the joy of heaven and that Jesus is indeed Light from Light, true God from true God, as we profess in our Creed. Indeed we always feel our best when we are close to God and when we allow the light of Christ to enrich and guide us. It is always good for us to be with God and amongst his chosen ones, and this is our primary and definitive vocation.
The second moment occurred when the voice of the Father came forth from a bright cloud above, directed towards the apostles and thus to all of us: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. By listening to the Son of God, accepting him and living according to his words of life, the transfiguration of our souls begins. It is the Word of God that invites us to new life, it heals our wounds, changes our hearts, encourages us and makes life beautiful.
Though the apostles were frightened by the heavenly voice they heard, Jesus encouraged them and said: Rise, and do not be afraid! There is nothing to fear when we are close to Jesus, because he raises us up, reassures us and restores our hope that we will have a bright future in communion with him. However, until this comes about we are to come down from the mountains we create back to the valley of our everyday lives. We are to lower ourselves from the heights of our pride and unbelief, from the hills of our selfishness and self-sufficiency, in order to continue our journey through life in faithful and loving service towards others, thereby steadily ascending to the peak and goal of our existence, to Christ the Lord. Let us therefore not be afraid to humble ourselves before God so that our souls might be transfigured into that of Christ and then we too will be able to repeat along with Peter to the Lord: Lord, it is good that we are here, together with you!