From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste

Today is August 6, 2014 the Feast of the transfiguration of Christ. It is an annual celebration observed by Catholic, Anglican, and some Protestant ministries in Western Christianity. It commemorates what many consider to be the highest point of Jesus’ earthly life, when he was “transfigured” by a brilliant white light at the top of a mountain and proclaimed to be the well-loved Son of God from a heavenly voice.

Immediately after the Lord was recognized by his apostles as the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God, he told them that he must go up to Jerusalem and suffer many things and be killed and on the third day be raised.

When Jesus went on to speak of his suffering, rejection, and death, his disciples did not understand him at first. Jesus went on to tell them that there would be a “cross” for them to bear as well, if they would follow him.

This is despite the fact that man’s perspective is that one must save his life in order to live, but Jesus taught that his followers must give up their lives for him, in order to live. Life, he said, comes out of death. On the other hand, those who would seek to save their own lives will ultimately lose them.

Transfiguration was therefore, part of his heavenly glory over sin and death. Christ underwent a dramatic change in appearance in order that the disciples could also behold him in his glory. Symbolically, the appearance of Moses and Elijah represented the Law and the Prophets:

“And his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as snow and behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

He was still speaking when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces with awe.

But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead” (Mt 17:1-92, see also Mk 9:1-9; Lk 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18).

God’s voice from heaven – “Listen to Him!” – showed that the Law and the Prophets must give way to Jesus. The one who is the new and living way is replacing the old – he is the fulfillment of the Law and the countless prophecies in the Old Testament.

John wrote in his gospel, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only” (John 1:14). Peter also wrote of it, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

In Greece and Romania the harvest season traditionally began on the Transfiguration. Grapes, in particular, were not eaten before August 6. In some parishes, the first grapes would be brought to church for a blessing and distributed to parishioners.

The blessing of grapes, as well as other fruits and vegetables on this day is the most beautiful and adequate sign of the final transfiguration of all things in Christ. It signifies the ultimate flowering and fruitfulness of all creation in the paradise of God’s unending Kingdom of Life where all will he transformed by the glory of the Lord.

This makes Transfiguration one of the greatest feats in Western Worlds. It reminds me of my days in the USA about 18 years ago while a student at Fordham University, celebrating mass on Transfiguration day at St Matthews Church in Brooklyn Diocese, Eastern Parkway. The feast was great, blessing fruits of different types.

In Kenya and many regions in the developing Worlds the fast is not given great importance, even though in recent centuries the event has come to be seen as an allegory by some Christians, with Elijah and Moses representing the Law and the Prophets, respectively, symbolizing the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Mathew 5:17:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Yet still, for Christians around the world, the Transfiguration remains an important observance. It is a chance to reflect upon the glorious divinity of Christ made manifest in the material world.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
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