C Cycle – 2nd Sunday of Lent 22
It is difficult for us to act on the promises of God because we often cannot comprehend what we see with our eyes. Today’s world is full of negative images and messages which are impacting each of us and causing us to experience anxiety, fear, division, and doubts about the future. This week our attention is on the endless bombing of Ukraine by Russia and its impact on the people of Ukraine, world’s governments, and economies. We have just begun to have hope that with the COVID impact waning life would be returning to normal.
Peter, James, and John had a mystical experience with the appearance of Moses and Elijah conversing with a transformed Jesus and talking to him about his journey to Jerusalem and its impact on us. Did you notice Jesus brought them up the mountain to pray with him? What did they miss when they fell asleep? I mention this because we can easily sleepwalk through our journey of faith, unaware of the presence of God around us and what he wants us to experience in our lives and during our times of prayer. It was only when they began to pay attention, when they become fully awake, they noticed something very different about Jesus.
That moment of an awareness of Jesus presence with us must come to each of us. That moment when we become aware of the reality of Jesus and the meaning of his death and resurrection. The moment we become aware of our sins being forgiven and forgotten. It is easy for us in our first encounter with Christ to desire to remain with that experience forever. It is in that moment we feel whole, cleansed, loved, and we begin to understand who we are in Christ. No wonder Peter wanted to stay on the mountain with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. We need to help others understand those moments of revelation are not only real they are to be experienced by each one of us. Instead of wanting to stay in that moment, we must understand how we need to take the lessons of that encounter with Christ and go into a world that is being ripped apart by evil.
I find it interesting that this gospel about the transfiguration of Jesus, and the Old Testament (Gen.15) account of the covenant God made with Abraham are fitting for us and the turmoil in the world today. God is reminding us of how easily we can “fall asleep” and have our hearts and minds wander away from his promise to be with us during the trials and tribulations of the world. To not be anxious or afraid for he is always with us. That is hard to do when we have had chaos in our cities, lawlessness on our streets, war being waged on another nation, division between races and a government that is unable to work together for the benefit of all.
The message God is giving us could not be clearer. God accepts the fact we will drift asleep and miss opportunities to grow spiritually and more in tune with his plan for us. At the same time God will not waste an opportunity to show us how to become more aware of his presence, his power, his love, his forgiveness, and his plan for us to “conform to the image of his son” (Rom.8:29). That opportunity comes to us just as it came to Peter and to Abraham. It is a voice speaking to our hearts telling us to “listen to him.” That voice came in response to Abraham when he asked God “how am I supposed to know what you promise will be done.” We have those same doubts and fail to understand a simple fact, God will speak to us. He will reveal to us what we need for us to do his will for us and to believe and step into the unknown because God is with us.
God comes to us in ordinary things we experience each day. Through the lyrics in songs, lines spoken in movies or written in books, spiritual insights during prayer, through others whom we consider spiritually mature or the voice of a child. We only need to pay attention and not let the distractions of the world blind us to the reality of God’s presence and his promises to us.
This is not a time for despairing, but it is a time to seek the strength of God, the wisdom of God and the security of God.
Mountain top experiences are wonderful, but we do not live on mountain tops but in a world that is full of evil, discord and unbelief. Each of us needs to be certain about the promises of God. Jesus is showing us a reality of the future and of the present. We need to have those mountain top experiences. Those moments energize us because they are vivid encounters with God. God reminds us of a deeper reality than depending on experiences. We need to draw our strength from something more the God who is with us every day, not just on the mountain top. We can experience the voice of God by reading his Word and sit with him as he touches our minds and hearts. Those words of God, “listen to him” were spoken for a reason. It is in by encountering Jesus in the scriptures we can have a mountain top experience daily as the word cuts through bone and marrow and reveals the intentions of our hearts.
It is when we listen to him, those moments when we allow the Word of God to penetrate our hearts and minds, we will like Jesus be transformed. We will be in the presence of Christ conversing with him as he did with Moses and Elijah.