READINGS: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14/ 2 Peter 1:16-19/ Matthew 17:1-9
The Transfiguration of the Lord

At the baptism of our Lord Jesus, the voice of the Heavenly Father declared: “This is my beloved Son; with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). Almost three years later, at His transfiguration, the Father would reaffirm that Jesus is His beloved Son and then instruct us to listen to Him: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matt. 17:5).

Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world for a purpose and if that was lost on the people who witnessed His baptism as well as his disciples and others who subsequently witnessed His great ministry, then the Father would speak again.  Thus, nearly three years after the baptism of Jesus, the Father’s voice was heard again.  This took place at the transfiguration.  On this occasion, the Father did not simply declare Jesus as His beloved Son but He commanded us to listen to Him.

The Father’s message was meant first and foremost for St. Peter and his colleagues, who though had recognized Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16), did not fully know His mission.  For instance, being ignorant of God’s plan for our salvation, St. Peter rebuked Jesus Christ for predicting His suffering, death and resurrection (Matt. 16:21-22).  St. Peter was certainly wrong on this account (cf. Matt. 16:23).

The transfiguration event was, therefore, to let St. Peter and his colleagues have a glimpse of God’s plan of salvation, and to let them listen to Jesus who had full knowledge of the plan and who had come to accomplish the mission of salvation in accordance with that plan.

Moreover, to listen to the Son of God is imperative for all who want to be saved.  He came into the world for a purpose – to save us.  Now, in a period of a natural disaster, victims need to listen to the rescue officers.  Similarly, since Jesus has come to save us from supernatural disaster caused by the “earthquake of sin”, we cannot but listen to Him.  Hence, the Father, who together with the Son and the Holy Spirit had put in place the rescue plan, instructs us to listen to His Son.

Therefore, beloved, let us listen to Christ through:

  • His Church
  • His true shepherds (be wary of the many false ministers)
  • His written Word
  • Family and friends whom He uses as His instruments
  • Events which manifest His merciful love, goodness, greatness, etc.
  • And in our hearts as He speaks, especially during quiet times.

In the scenario of a rescue operation mentioned above, if the victim only listens but does not act on the instructions of the rescuers, he/she may lose his/her life. Similarly, the Father’s command to listen to Jesus does not mean merely hearing His Word but to act on it. Thus, St. James admonishes us: “be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing” (James 1:22-25).

Finally, therefore, may our faith in God’s Son be always steadfast and our obedience to His words be constant. Amen.

By Most Rev. John Kobina Louis

Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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