Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne

Sunday 6 August 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.”

In both the Latin and Eastern parts of the Church this story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is read on the 6th August, the anniversary of the opening of the Basilica on Mount Tabor, as well as on the second Sunday of Lent.

Jesus took Peter, James and John up onto a high mountain to reveal his divinity to his three closest disciples by means of a miraculous and supernatural light. While Jesus prayed at the mountain his appearance was changed by brilliant white light, which shone from him and from his clothing. During this event Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke of how Christ would suffer and die after entering Jerusalem before his resurrection.

This event, which we read in the version from Saint Matthew this year, is also recorded by Saint Mark and Saint Luke. In their own writing Saint Peter and Saint John make specific reference to this event, stating that it confirms that Jesus is the Redeemer.

On this day eleven years ago Pope Benedict XVI described how the events of the Transfiguration show Jesus is the full manifestation of God’s light; the light which shines from Christ both at the Transfiguration and after his resurrection is ultimately triumphant over the darkness of evil.

The invitation given today to each of us is to look to Christ as the Light of the world and to experience a conversion described in the Bible as an emergence from darkness to light. We urgently need to emerge from the darkness of evil to experience the joy of the children of light. This we do when despite our weakness our attention is constantly fixed on Jesus.

The Eastern Catholic Church describes the Transfiguration as a spiritual enlightenment. Archbishop Joseph Raya says: “Transfiguration is not simply an event out of the two thousand year old past or a future yet to come. It is rather a reality of the present, a way of life available to those who seek and accept Christ’s nearness.”

The three disciples saw and knew that the Jesus they had walked with all their life was and is God. We are given the same invitation; what will be our response?

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.

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