Gen 12:1-4; 2Tim 1:8-10; Matt 17:1-9
Our gospel of today talks about the transfiguration of Jesus Christ in Mt. Tabor or Mt. Hebron and every 6th of August since the 5th century A.D. is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Also, every second Sunday of Lent every year is called Transfiguration Sunday. His three disciples, Peter, James and John, because the gospel used talks about this great event in the life of Jesus Christ as witness it. In my own reflection, the main purpose why Jesus was transfigured was to prepare the apostles for the said event of Holy Week where Jesus sacrificed, died and nailed on the cross because of His great love for each one of us. In other words, he prepared them for His upcoming suffering.
Buddhism teaches different truths about life. The first truth is: Life is suffering. Look at the situation around us; these situations can prove that life is such. Look at the faces of those who are BBS (Believe na Believe sa Sarili or conceited people), if their desires will not be met, palaging nakasimangot (always frowned). Look at the faces of those patients in hospitals who are suffering from pain and sickness, they are not smiling. Hear the cries of sorrow for the departed loved ones. If you try to listen to stories of people, their stories are full of trials, difficulties and failures. That is for Buddhism, life is full of pain.
The second truth is, suffering comes from desires. Many people are unhappy because of unfulfilled desires and wants. For example, I want to buy a new appliance but I don’t have money for it. I want this man or woman to be mine but I don’t have the beautiful body and face. I like this position or recognition but somebody takes it. Desires, wants, you name them all and we have plenty of them. All of us are really working hard so that these wants and desires will be fulfilled. If these will not be fulfilled, who suffer, it is still, we.
I was talking to a certain person in Bula Parish in General Santos City who owns a big fishing industry in that place. She told me that when she was still a poor person, she was longing to buy all those things including delicious food. But when she has the money, she could not eat the food that she wanted to eat before because her doctor prohibits her to eat those for health reasons. So she was not so happy.
The third truth is that the way to happiness is to get rid of all desires. We have to ask ourselves this question: why is it that I’m suffering? What is the cause f my suffering? Most likely, it is because of our sadness to our desires. So Buddha advised that in order to be happy, we should liberate ourselves from desires.
That is why this gospel is used today in order for us to reflect about our lives and in order too to have a balanced life:
First is to look at our spiritual needs. Our physical bodies are becoming bigger and bigger but our souls are malnourished or undernourished.
Second is to look at ourselves if we are still awake and snoring while sleeping, like the apostles. When the transfiguration took place, they were sleeping. Perhaps, we are like them. We do not see that somebody is hurt through the way we talk because we are sleeping together with our pride and superiority complex. Sometimes, our mouth is without brake, it always accelerates. Without our knowledge, we bump somebody.
Third is to look at our spiritual lives. Just like St. Peter, he is a man of action. He wanted to build three tabernacles. But Jesus stopped him. In other words, work, work and work throughout our lives is not enough. There should be a time for prayer, for contemplation, for adoration, for fulfilling our spiritual gas tank through union with God, for giving our time, talent and treasure so that these will provide us strength in our daily ministry and to enable us to walk in the way of the cross towards the Kingdom of God where happiness is without end.
And lastly is to face suffering of this world with meaning as our act of participation with the suffering of Christ. Christ did not wrong. But he still suffered on the cross because of His love for us sinners. Therefore, sufferings are not punishments from God. They are part of our lives just as it is natural for us to experience joy in life, problems and sufferings are part of our lives.
So, just remember these four things that I mentioned in order to have a balanced life.
OR. Transfiguration happens in:
1. Takes place in the mountain – for the Jews, it is a place of God. What are our own mountains in life now? It could be problems, trials and difficulties, etc. In other words God is present even in these things.
2. Prayer – Jesus was praying when transfiguration took place.
3. Jesus talks with Moses (lawgiver) and Elijah (prophet) – In other words, we have to become men and women of God’s word. If we see a man carrying a Bible we say: “Protestante yan, ah Born-again yan!” We do not know that the Bible is a Catholic document at atin ito. Buti ang mga sinabi ng teleserye and pelikula memorize natin like: “You are nothing but a second rate trying hard copycat,” (Bituing Walang Ningning). But who said: “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life,” (St. Peter). How about: “For God so love the world that He gave His Only begotten Son that whoever believes in him might not Perish but have Eternal Life,” (Jesus).
4. 3 things given to us this transfiguration:
a. Jesus is the image of God
b. Pledge of future glory – suffering turns to joy
c. Goes beyond our outward appearance-change in the minds and hearts. And this change begin in us
i. Tama na, sobra na, palitan na – before
ii. Tama na, sobra na, kilos – ngayon
iii. Tama na, sobra, magbago kana – our gospel tells us
5. Transfiguration can also occur through the Sacramaments:
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A