Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Feast of the Transfiguration

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration.  AS I was celebrating Mass this afternoon, the words of Sacred Scripture, both in the 2nd reading and gospel, recount the words of the Father directed to Peter, James, and John: This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.  By extension, those words are extended to all of those who call themselves Christians...each one of us.  The Father had to tell these apostles this because they were not listening to Jesus who repeatedly told them what Kingdom He had come to establish.  They were looking for a kingdom of this world in which they would hold privileged positions of power.  Jesus had told them this was not what He came to do.  They were on their way to Jerusalem, sure that finally now would come the establishment of a new Davidic earthly kingdom.  When seeing the Transfigured Christ with Moses and Elijah, they saw a way to back their plans.  The booths of which Peter speaks are to put Jesus on display to convince others of His divinity and right to start this new world order.  The Father makes it clear that such is not His will.

We cannot wag our fingers too hard at the disciples though.  All too often, we busy the vast majority of our time, energy, and resources building kingdoms for ourselves here and now.  We look for ease, wealth, influence, and reputation here and now as if this is all that there is.  We build kingdoms bound for destruction, for our death will wipe out any tenuous hold we had on any of these kingdoms. What then?  Will we face a true kingdom that we have largely ignored and only mildly prepared for?  When we limit our faith to 45-60 minutes a Sunday (when there is nothing else better to do, it is the right time, it is the right priest) and think that this is all we need to do..then perhaps it is time to listen to Jesus.  He is not looking for a relationship of convenience, but for a lifelong eternal relationship which influences everything we are.  Too many times we see religion as a set of data to be memorized and not as a template for a relationship with God and with one another.  WE can get so wrapped up in what we want that we bypass what we need. It is easy to do.

Several years back, I came upon the song "I Surrender All" by Clay Crosse.  When I first heard it, it hit me hard.  Like everyone else, I struggle with building an earthly kingdom and forgetting about God.  I was reminded that I cannot focus on my kingdom and still expect the Kingdom of heaven.  My time in this life tells God very clear whose kingdom I am concerned about and to which kingdom I dedicate myself.  When I focus on my kingdom, I essentially tell God that my kingdom is better.  If I am to expect any true share in heaven, my actions, attitudes, priorities, and focus had better speak to this.  Jesus gave us a way of life.  He did not do this because He wanted to simply give just another option to follow if it suits us.  He did it because this way of life says clearly that I do wish to enter into that eternal relationship with God.  So, are you ready to surrender all?  Are you willing to stop building a temporary kingdom and start living for a lasting one?  Can you hear and follow the words of the Father, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Listen to Him!"?  It is hard to do, I know this.  I struggle with it every day.  However, it is soemthing God gives us the grace and ability to do.

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