I'm a news junkie. I wake up to CNN and go to sleep with Nightline. My computer home page is the New York Times and my phone receives push messages from the Washington Post. I have a need to know what's happening and I want that information quickly and in as few words as possible. This may be why I find the story of Jesus' transfiguration so appealing.
In Sunday's Gospel Jesus is taking three of his closest friends and leading them "up a high mountain apart by themselves". Already we begin to anticipate something important happening, and it does. Jesus is transfigured. He becomes dazzling white as he speaks with Moses and Elijah. Poor Peter is terrified and overwhelmed. Just recently he had been witness to many of Jesus' miracles and now, live and in person, here were the prophets, Moses and Elijah. Enough already. Let's just build a few tents, stay here and enjoy the moment. How could this possibly get any better?
Hardly had the words passed from Peter's lips when a voice came from a cloud, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." Just as suddenly, they are again alone with Jesus. But there was to be no standing still, no tent on the mountain. As they begin their decent, Jesus instructs them to tell no one of their experience until after "the Son of Man had risen from the Dead". Who could they tell? Who would believe it? Imagine the CNN interview here!
Certainly Peter, James and John had an experience of the Divine. They were convinced of that. And oh, how comfortable it would be to just dwell on that for a while, but as we fast forward to the resurrection it becomes evident that the key to understanding the transfiguration is the cross. Jesus' death and resurrection moved the disciples beyond the mountain shrine. Jesus' divine nature did not come from his earthly ministry. The Divine is revealed to those who are ready to listen and willing to act. Jesus asks us to come down from the mountain, to leave the places we find comfortable, to listen to God's voice calling each of us. As we begin a new year in Religious Education, it is my prayer that each of our students learn to hear that voice. For that to happen we need volunteer teachers willing to step out on the edge to embrace the cross and share the Good News. No theology major needed, just a willing heart! If you think you might be able to volunteer please call Phyllis in the YM office or Cathy in the CCD office for grades 1-8.