March 8, 2020
(2nd Sunday of Lent, A)
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. . . . While he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Mt_17:1-9
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Abram, before his baptismal, ‘name-change’ to Abraham, often spoke with God, and God spoke back to him. And Abram learned to trust in God, even when His instructions may have seemed a little slow in coming, or didn’t quite make any sense to him.
Did you ever have a conversation with God, brothers and sisters?
The Apostles spoke with Jesus, and Jesus instructed them. And even though they may not have realized exactly whom it was that they were speaking with, yet, they were already having conversations with God.
It just makes us ponder: Have we ever spoken with God, with Jesus, or with the Holy Spirit? And if we have: What has God said to us? Maybe it was a blessing given to us by a friend or stranger. Ever have someone say “God bless you,” besides for a sneeze, or in a church?
Maybe God’s words came to us through a blessing that we gave to others. Ever offer a blessing to another person, or even say a simple, “I’ll pray for you,” unexpectedly? You’d be amazed at how profoundly God rewards those simple actions.
And THAT’s communication with God!
Or maybe God’s communication came to us through a challenge at work or at home. A problem, we just couldn’t solve, or a relationship that seemed out of control. And out of the blue (and into God’s realm), all of a sudden the rough seas were calmed and everything worked out perfectly.
. . . Conversations with God . . .
Now it might sound like a rhetorical question, beloved, but when we think about it, “How well do we really know this Jesus?”
Is He just an image on our wall? An image that might embarrass or scandalize us, anywhere other than in Church?
Is Jesus just another historical figure? And we never really got into history anyway?
Is He just one more of those Sunday-School lessons, with lots of tedious memorization?
You know, the question we might actually ask, is how well do we really know anyone! Do we really KNOW our own kids, our spouse, our parents, or even ourselves?
So WHO is this Jesus, beyond some sanitized image of human brutality?
Well, we’re all quite familiar with the infant Jesus, born in a cave on Christmas Day . . . very cold and very poor. But even as early as that, in His life, there was already something very different about Him, something special: angels and shepherds, a star and three kings.
And we can all relate to this birth, because we were all born. And we might have even brought birth to another generation, ourselves. So we know the joys and the woes of babies. It’s the cycle of life, the harsh reality of individuality, that separates us from our Creators: mom, dad, and God.
You see, it was through that Nativity Story, that we’ve learned, that Jesus was, or actually IS – one of us!
But do we know Jesus, the little boy, who cried when he fell, and played ball with the other little kids in His neighborhood.
Do we know the Jesus who, at 12-years old, knew the Scriptures so well that He could teach the Pharisees a thing or two. Who at 12-years old, loved nothing more than to BE in His Father’s house, among His brothers and sisters, God’s other children.
Do we know the teenage Jesus, who learned the carpenter’s trade from His stepfather; sometimes pounding his own thumb with a missed hammer swing, or carving that wood a little too deep, only to have to start all over again, without ever a “Raqa” or a “You fool” even in His thoughts.
Do we know the 30-year old Jesus, who left His mom, so that He might teach the world – what true Love really meant.
Who went head-to-head with the religious elders, trying to convince them that it wasn’t the ritual, but the Love behind it, that really mattered.
Who had no qualms with hugging a disease-riddled leper or confronting a demon-possessed lunatic.
Do we know the Jesus
– who understands our grief even more than we do,
– who lifts us up when the world is crushing us,
– who lightens the load when it’s just too much to bear.
Who gives us patience and forgiveness when our emotions are yanking us toward explosion, and vengeance, and hatred.
Do we know the Jesus who feeds us when we have no work,
– who helps us find that perfect job,
– who brings us comfort when our mothers die,
– who sees us through those awful tests,
– who saves us from that fatal wreck,
– who brings us here – to be with Him, even when we don’t quite feel like it.
Do we know the Jesus who allowed a vile and heartless world to think that it could actually kill Love, when, in reality, it was only killing itself.
Do we know the Jesus who DIED, only to show, us, who love Him, that death really has NO power over us at all.
You see, Peter, James and John got a glimpse of a Jesus that they could have never imagined! After miraculous healings, walking on water, raising the dead, and amazing lessons in morality and love, the true nature of Jesus was finally revealed – in this Transfiguration.
He was not only human, but Divine as well.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
How do we walk with Divinity at our side? The disciples would eventually learn. But it would take one more human miracle for them to recognize, that Divinity was right there with them, all along. In the Resurrection, they finally understood everything that was said and done by Jesus, as He greeted them with that ‘Kiss of Peace.’ The same kiss we offer back to Him at every Mass, and to one another; if only in our hearts.
“This is my beloved Son”
(here in our blessed Sacrament)
and I offer Him,
to live within every one of you!
Listen to Him!
Walk with Him!
And BE Him to others!
Our call, brothers and sisters, is to be grateful, to be obedient, and most importantly, like Jesus and with Jesus, our absolute best of companions, we are called to LOVE.
An ancient sage once said: Bring Jesus home to Friendship; above just Knowledge; all the way – to LOVE. For, Knowledge is nice, Friendship is forever, but Love – is Eternal.
And that’s more than just Communication, beloved.
Blessed be God forever!
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