Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Today in the Gospel (Matthew 17:1-9) the three disciples, Peter, James and his brother John sees Jesus in the glory that belongs to Him as “Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:17). Jesus is as much “at home” here as he is walking the roads and lakeshore of Galilee with them. This glorious scene has all the stops pulled out. There Jesus is transfigured, visions of Moses and Elijah, even God has a part, and it all has just one sole purpose, which is to make the disciples listen to Jesus. They do not want to hear what he is saying. Peter especially has shut his ears. Peter is delighted with the experience and longs to prolong it. “Lord it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4). His suggestion is inappropriate, they are called to listen to the fact that Jesus is destined to suffer and die in Jerusalem and that those who would be his disciples must be prepared to go along with him on that journey. Peter is still speaking when he is interrupted. It is as if God is saying to him, ‘Why don’t you shut up a moment and listen instead of talking all the time.’ Peter is compulsively chattering. It takes God to shut him up a moment. And if we are to grow in love of God and each other, then we must learn – how to be quiet, – so that we may hear the Word of God, and my neighbour. The word today is: LISTEN. So the first thing that I would suggest is that you try to find a moment, even just a few minutes to be with the Word of God. For example, to be with the Sunday readings. Just read them quietly before Mass. Do not interrogate them immediately. Just be present to them, silently attentive. And we must learn that silence in the presence of others. Just attend to them in stillness. Open yourself to their words. They do not have the advantage of Jesus, who can get God to tell you to shut up for a moment! If we listen to the Word of God, quietly, in silence, then it will invite us to change. It will ask to make new steps in our pilgrimage. And this is also true when we listen to others. No relationship can stay in just the same place. Either it develops or shrivels. We cannot freeze relationships. The reason why Peter does not want to listen to Jesus, of course, was because he was afraid. He knew that Jesus had invited him to take up his cross and follow him, and he was afraid to do so. Why not? The whole scene is intended to liberate Peter and the disciples from their fear. Jesus shows himself in glory to give them heart. It is a glimpse of what lies on the other side of death, the end of the journey, the Promised Land. The Transfiguration literally offers them and us light at the end of the tunnel. They fall flat and he touches them and lifts them up. It is like a mini-death and resurrection. We can lift each other to our feet, give courage to each other. Then we shall dare to open our ears to God, and even to each other. When we pray the Preface today at Mass; we say – “God revealed His glory in the presence of his chosen witnesses and filled with the greatest splendour that bodily form which he shares with all humanity that the scandal of the Cross might be removed from the hearts of his disciples….”
Feasts of the Week: Tuesday: St. Dominic ( 1170-1221) a Spaniard who founded the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) to counteract the Albigenisan heresy. Wednesday: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). Patron of Europe. Virgin & Martyr died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz on this day in 1942. Thursday: St. Lawrence, Deacon & Martyr one of the seven deacons of Rome who met his death cheerfully on the gridiron. Friday: St. Clare from Assisi (1193-1253). She followed St. Francis in his life of poverty and was founder of the Poor Clare nuns.
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