Bishop Banda’s Homily, Sunday, 2nd Week, Lent.
Homilies, Sunday, 2nd Week, Lent, Year B
1. In our Gospel reading, we see Christ being transfigured before His disciples. The transfiguration as it were was the turning point in the ministry of our Lord. Until now all was very nice and all roses. Jesus was pulling the crowds with his preaching and miracles. Now he must descend to the valley, to the road to Gethsemane and finally to Calvary.
2. The Transfiguration gave Jesus a foretaste of his glory, and in the strength of that joy he could now endure the cross and the shame of His death on the cross. But most of all the Transfiguration gave Jesus the affirmation of the Father’s love. At His baptism in the Jordan His Father affirmed Him, “This is my beloved Son on whom my favor rests.” And now He says, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.”
3. The appearance of Moses and Elijah represented the Law and the Prophets. But the voice of God from heaven – “Listen to Him!” – Clearly underscores that the Law and the Prophets must give way to Jesus. He is the fulfillment of the Law and the countless prophecies in the Old Testament. For the apostles it was an awe-inspiring experience. They had never seen the master like this before.
4. Peter filled with fear and admiration says, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. Let us erect three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But it was not meant to be. They must descend from the mountain to the valley below and onto the garden of Gethsemane and Calvary. On the Mount of Tabor they didn’t want to leave. However, in the Garden of Gethsemane they didn’t want to stay. And when Jesus was arrested they all fled, scampered in all directions.
5. We can all identify with the apostles with our own mountain-top experiences of joy and consolation – we also want to stay. We want these experiences to go on forever. However, in the moments of trial and tribulations we all want to flee. We forget that our Lord did not promise us a garden of roses – but the garden of olives and a crown of thorns, as He says: “If anyone will come after me let him pick up his cross daily and follow me.”
6. The Transfiguration was the mountain-top experience of the apostles which prepared them for their future trials. The Eucharistic celebration is our mountain-top experience which prepares us for the trials of our day. The Eucharist does not insulate us from trials – such as: bumbi munda; bamutasha kali kwisaya; umufimbila; ubukatu; umulomo; ubufi etc.
7. The Mass is not a transfiguration but a transubstantiation, in which bread and wine are transformed into the glorious Risen Jesus. And in the joy and consolation of Communion we say with Peter, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” And we do not want to leave. But it is not to be. Soon we will hear the words, “The Mass is ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
8. So we ought to pick up our crosses and leave to face the trials of our day. But having been to the mountain top we know that: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As it is said in a song:
Life is easy, when you are up on the mountain
And you have got peace of mind like you have never known
But things change, when you are down in the valley
Don’t lose faith, for you are never alone
For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, He will make them right
And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night
You talk faith when you are up on the mountain
But talk comes so easy when life is at its best
Now it’s down in the valley of trials and temptations
That is where your faith is really put to the test