My Dear Sisters and Brothers! God chose to accomplish our salvation not outside us but from within us. A couple of centuries prior to Jesus prophet Daniel wrote: ‘I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man.’ The prophet was given a vision of the coming salvation which was originated in heaven. No human being can save himself or herself. Salvation is the work of God. Today’s Gospel, reminiscing the Divinity of Christ, is irrevocably connected to the events of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Those three Most Sacred Days were the culmination of what Daniel saw in his vison: ‘coming … one like a son of man.’ That’s why Jesus not only chose the obscurity of the mountain for his Transfiguration but he also ‘warned the disciples to tell no one what they had seen until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.’ It was crucial as the transfiguration on its own could have made people think that he was only looking like a human being while his crucifixion left no doubt about how real his human condition was. Salvation is not some medicine applied by God wearing protective gloves not to get contaminated by our sinfulness. On the contrary Jesus Christ stepped into the most dehumanising situation so that the healing, the salvation of our humanity could be brought about from within.
Jesus consistently introduced himself as ‘Son of Man,’ which to our ears today sounds like a title of God, doesn’t it? However to his listeners the expression meant simply a human being. It is a very profound mystery for our contemplation that Jesus insisted so strongly on presenting himself as a true man. Why? So that we could believe that salvation is an act of loving mercy rather than an impersonal treatment of God distanced from us. If the title ‘Son of Man’ has got such a divine implication, as we hear it today, it is because Our Blessed Lord, in whom we place our trust, took upon himself our human nature to transfigure it from within to such an extent that it was radiating with glory proper to God. Jesus didn’t need to strip himself off human physique to reveal his divinity. His divinity shone from his humanity as Peter, James and John were blessed to witness on the mountain of Transfiguration. Jesus’ divinity shone even more profusely when he was on the cross. They stripped him off his clothes there but then every nerve and muscle, every cell of his suffering body was screaming not only out of excruciating pain but also out of loving mercy. The glory of the Son of Man nailed to the wood of the cross was not causing blindness but it was accomplishing the salvation we needed so much. That’s why, some years later St Paul wrote in the Letter to the Romans: ‘Be transformed by the renewing of the mind.’ St Paul very carefully used the same word which was used in the Gospel to describe the event we celebrate this Sunday but his time in relation to Christians. St Paul wasn’t an idealist he was a realist. He was aware of the sins among Christians but he was also aware that human nature is not an obstacle to be shining with God’s glory. St Paul drew this belief from his contemplation on the glory of Jesus revealed in the most prosaic human situations and finally in Jesus’ death and Resurrection.
For two millennia Christian people have been recalling various events of Jesus’ mission in the midst of humanity in order to renew the human mind. This renewal comes from within, from memories of Jesus’ events and the work of the Holy Spirit present always in those who remember Jesus. As we lovingly and gratefully remember Jesus’ Transfiguration today, the Spirit, who as the cloud wrapped the summit of the mountain, works profoundly in our souls and in the midst of this community. Can you see the glory of God shining from this community and from each person here present? I can because I believe Jesus.