Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 5:37 PM
HONOR ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST-Saturday, June 23rd at 6:30 around the front circle for the Blessing of the Fire

03/12/17 Second Sunday of Lent - Fr. Reggie

In St Matthew's Gospel, God the Father speaks from heaven only twice - in this passage of the Transfiguration, and in the passage when Jesus is baptized.

Both times he says essentially the same thing - just to emphasize how important it is. He says that Jesus is his beloved Son and we should listen to him. Listening to Christ means getting to know him and following his lead. When parents instruct their children to listen, they want the kids both to hear and to heed what they are saying. God the Father does the same thing.

Jesus Christ is God's own Son, sent by the Father to be our guide to fulfillment, to the meaning and happiness we all long for.  Christ alone is the answer, the secret to a life lived to the full. He is not just one great philosopher in history's Hall of Fame. He is not just a wise teacher, like Confucius or Buddha. He is the fulfillment of the long history of salvation that God traced throughout the Old Testament, represented in the Transfiguration by the appearance of Moses and Elijah.

He is God made man, whose glory is way beyond anything we can imagine.  

Peter, James, and John got a glimpse of it, and it terrified them, and they were no strangers to miraculous occurrences. Jesus' face shone like the sun - try to imagine that! His clothes became as white as light - picture that!

Jesus is our glorious Savior - he came to change our lives, to "save us and call us to a holy life," as St Paul wrote in the Second Reading.

All we need to do is "listen to him," to turn our gaze to him, to follow him, and we too will be transfigured

We all have a deep desire to help other people, to help them find true happiness.

But unless we first listen to Christ, filling our own minds and hearts with his grace and wisdom, we will not be able to give others what they really need to bring meaning and peace. There is a true story about a wise professor named Alexander Papaderos. At the end of class one day, he asked if there were any questions. A student raised his hand and asked, "Professor, what is the meaning of life?" Everyone laughed. But the professor saw that the student really wanted to know and said, "I will answer your question."

He took a small, round mirror out of his wallet, and then explained where it had come from. When he was a child, during World War II, his poor family lived in a remote village. One day he found the broken pieces of a mirror scattered along the road - remnants of a German motorcycle crash. He couldn't put the mirror back together, so he just kept the largest piece. By scratching it on a stone, he made it round. He began to play with it as a toy. He would use it to reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine - deep holes and crevices, dark closets. It became a game to get light into the most inaccessible places he could find. He kept the mirror, and as he grew up, he would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. Later, he came to see that this game was a metaphor for life. He gradually understood that although he himself was not the source of truth, wisdom, and goodness in the world, those things really did exist - they were like spiritual light. And he could help communicate that spiritual light to darkenedsearching hearts and minds, just as the mirror had reflected physical light into dark corners.

Christ is the true light, the only light that saves. And the more we let him into our hearts, the more we will be able to reflect him into the suffering hearts of others.

[Adapted from "Hot Illustrations," copyright 2001, Youth Specialties, Inc.]

Most of us can probably hear exactly what Jesus is asking of us right now.

He is always calling to our hearts, inviting us to follow him more closely. Maybe he is asking some of us to come to him in the sacrament of confession, so that he can help us break down a debilitating, sinful habit that's holding back our spiritual maturity. Maybe he is asking us to reconcile with a friend or family member we haven't spoken to in years - to forgive someone who doesn't really deserve to be forgiven. Maybe he is asking us start living more for others and less for ourselves. He may even be calling some of us to leave everything behind and follow him in the priesthood or the consecrated life, walking in the footsteps of Abraham and St Paul.

When we hear God's voice inviting us to make a change, we are almost always torn: one part of us wants to say yes, but another part of us is fearful. The closeness of God, even his voice in our hearts, is awe-inspiring, and, like Peter, James, and John, when we hear it, we can be "very much afraid." But Jesus is well aware of this. When his disciples were face down on the mountaintop, trembling with fear, "Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid."

Today he will do the same thing for us. He will come to us in the Holy Eucharist, and touch us - really, truly - and say to our hearts: "Rise, and do not be afraid."

When he does, let's say to him in response: "OK, Lord. I believe in you. I want to listen to you. Thy will be done, Lord, thy Kingdom come."

 

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