The Transfiguration of the Lord ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI


Reading 1: DN 7:9-10, 13-14

Responsorial Psalm: 97:1-2, 5-6, 9

Reading 2: 2 PT 1:16-19

Gospel: MT 17:1-9

In the Name of the Father +, and of the Son +,  and of the Holy Spirit+!

Today, my dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, we come together as the church to commemorate the miraculous occasion of when our Lord’s human nature was transfigured by the Holy Spirit, which proceeded from Our Heavenly Father.

This miraculous and wondrous occasion shows us firstly that both the human and the divine natures of Our dear Lord Jesus Christ are indeed both united in the One Person, secondly, it shows that therefore, there cannot possibly be any unity without the Holy Spirit, and thirdly that our Saviour and Lord, dominates over both Life and over Death, for prophet Moses, who died, and prophet Elijah, who did not die, both came to worship Him on the Mount, which was The Mount Tabor.

The tiniest of details of this miraculous and  wondrous event is, indeed, full of a profound significance to us as Christians. Today, I would like to mention the aspect of this Feast which is  very often overlooked: the symbolical meaning of Mount Tabor, the Mountain where the Transfiguration actually occurred. This Mount Tabor is for us a figure of repentance., but also one of hope. I note that, like for the disciples in biblical history, in order for us to see the transfiguration or to hope to be transfigured ourselves, we will first have to climb the Mountain, from our present condition. Otherwise any transfiguration or change for the better in our lives is impossible…

Our transfiguration and salvation is like Mount Tabor: however hard we try, we will not be guaranteed salvation through a fast, if strenuous, climb within a day, a week, a month or a year. . To climb our Mountain to Salvation takes a us our whole lifetime, it is an exceedingly long climb up an extremely long and ever upwards  steep slope. Salvation is a long struggle which requires our determination, our perseverance, and patient longsuffering…

Our spiritual progress is not one of a sudden and dramatic nature. There are will be so many obstacles along our path within our daily life’s climb. At times, even to pick up our prayer books in the morning and again in the evening may be a struggle, and there are always those pesky hindrances in our lives such as having meals to prepare, or trains to catch, phones to answer or chores to do, or maybe even unpleasant appointments to do in our day. Our Christian life, is indeed made up of little sacrifices,  and obstacles to overcome: there are prayers to be said, fasts to be kept, a donation to be made where we are able, the washing-up to be done, flowers to be bought, our homes to be cleaned, a job to go to, a vigil service to be attended, a hospital visit to do, a homeless or vulnerable person to help.

We may well ask ourselves what little sacrifices  we have made since the Feast of Transfiguration last year? How far have we ascended on our journey  to salvation climbing up our own  individual Mount Tabor? How have we changed over the past year? What have we done to lead a better life since  that of a year ago? How have we improved? What have we given to God that we had not given Him previously? It is this that we call progress: in what way are we a better Christian than we were a year ago?

In our faith we are called to struggle  on a daily basis, whatever the rocks or pitfalls in our way: whether they be issues of pride or selfishness, maybe those of lust or of discouragement, maybe issues of envy or of being judgemental to others, – we have to struggle to ascend our personal Mount Tabor, we have to fight for our personal transfiguration.

We must constantly remember that it is possible to both climb up and also to climb down a slope. We can spiritually progress, but it is also possible to spiritually regress. We can continually stride forward so we will be transfigured by the love of God or we can let ourselves be disfigured and stranded  by the love of worldly sin. And just as in making progress, regression also is not a sudden and dramatic thing, regression, too, is  like a slope, indeed, it is a very slippery slope.

Let us, therefore, take heed and continually strive to climb our faith mountain to our salvation and transition, and give God what He really wants from us – our hearts and minds to be continually spiritually progressing.

May Our Lord and Saviour bless you!


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