Gospel Matthew 17: 1-9
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John,
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.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
While he 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."
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
"Rise, and do not be afraid."
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
+Come Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me and console. Tell me what I ought to do and command me to do it, I promise to be submissive to your voice and promptings. Amen
Exuberance! Can you feel the emotion in Peter's heart, as he 'basks' under the rays of Divine Light, buoyed up in spirit? What does he want to do? He wants to 'secure' this place of consolation for the long term. How human is that, to offer God suggestions and plans that seem so good and right and will benefit us in the future. We ask "Is there anything wrong with that?" And our answer comes: "This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, listen to him." Our Heavenly Father speaks the Word that interrupts the word of man (the planning and suggestions of Peter.) The voice of the Father directs our attention, to Jesus and what we should do, when in his company: "Listen to him." No plans are more important to listen to and to learn of, than God's plans. It takes a lot of humility to close the mouth and open the mind and heart to God and listen. The Father is directing our gaze to the One who is already with us, and we need to listen to; Jesus. Whether we recognize his presence in our lives or not, he is here, he is with us. To be able to hear him and listen to him, we must stay close to Him, not move ahead of Him into the future nor lag back behind him in the past. To remain in the Divine Presence, is to remain in the present moment, where He is, and remain there 'attentively', this is what pleases the Father. A listening heart is attentive, its expectant, receptive, open and trustful. A listening heart is humble, it lets go of its plans and desires because it loves. A listening heart is obedient, and selfless. A true listening heart is pure, it is focused on One voice and because it is, a pure heart enjoys glimpses of God all the time, not just once. This is what our Father in heaven wants for us, to see His Presence always in our lives.
In the book; "Into Your Hands, Father" written by Fr. Wilfrid Stinessen, he says: "Every event is a Word of God to us." What is the 'Word' spoken to you here in this Gospel passage? Read this Gospel passage slowly and prayerfully. Listen for what strikes you and stay there with Jesus. Watch what happens after the cloud and voice enter the moment; there is a very human reaction of Fear. We are reading a book with our summer staff in formation, titled; "Becoming Human" by Jean Vanier. He says a very simple and beautiful sentence; "Fear closes us down, Love opens us up." This is exactly what happens to Peter, James and John. The natural reaction and then the supernatural. The natural response of fear; falling down, hiding, covering one's face, no movement and then the supernatural response; after we encounter Jesus and the grace of God touches us, we move, we lift our eyes, our hearts and we aren't afraid, we see Jesus alone. What Fear is blocking my view of God in my life? What plans and designs must I submit to God in order to live more totally in the present moment, gratefully receiving His gift of himself, more totally open to his plan/design for me?
A good friend stopped by this afternoon and surprised us with a visit. We sat together talking about the Transfiguration- and I loved Errico's thought. He said, (paraphrased) Its interesting, that Peter (and Peter represents us) desires to keep 'heaven on earth' he desires to pull down heaven and keep it here but the interesting thing is, he doesn't ask to be taken up to heaven, to join and enter into the realm and origin of that light. The desire in Peter to keep his feet where there are, rather than asking to join where Jesus feet are. What a beautiful thought. Peter was trying to secure a piece of 'heaven on earth', instead of securing' piece of heaven in heaven'.
3rd Point and perhaps the best of all
Fr. Quinn's homily today: When Peter says: "Lord it is good that we are here", His joy and exuberance perhaps come from the joy of being with Jesus, and we also, the joy of being with Jesus, in the depth of our hearts. "Lord it is good that we are here" are beautiful words to ponder, this Indwelling Presence of God, in the depth of our soul, how "right" are those words! The Joy of God's Presence in my soul, Yes, I do say how good it is that WE are here.
Let us Pray: Loving Father, we love you, let us know your love for us, for to believe in this Love is to live in the confidence of our belovedness, as your precious child, loved by you. Father, open our hearts to your love. Amen