Seeing Jesus In The Eyes Of Faith
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (A)
Scriptural Readings: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Matthew 17:1-9
My dear encountered couples:
What did Daniel really see? What does this vision bring before you? What do you see with your eyes of faith? Does this vision of God give you hope? Does this vision of God promise life for you? Does this vision of God fill you with love and joy and peace?
What did Peter, James and John see in our Gospel story today? Was Jesus radically changed before their eyes? Did they see the "risen Jesus" even before the sacrifice of Calvary? Was Jesus fully divine one moment and just human the next? What did these three people see? Who did they hear?
It is obvious from our second reading today that Peter was forever changed by his experience of the Transfiguration. But what really happened?
The beginning of Jesus’ public ministry includes the calls of the first disciples, and the setting aside of the twelve to be given a very special role in the ongoing ministry of Jesus. As we try to follow the time lines proposed in all of the gospels it is obvious that Jesus is teaching and the disciples are learning. Sometimes the disciples need detailed explanations of just what Jesus is teaching. Sometimes it seems they need more help than the vast crowds. The story of the sower and the seed needs more explanation for the disciples than it would for most people.
The miracles become more complex as the gospel story unfolds. Jesus makes wine at a wedding, Jesus gives sight, Jesus chases the devil, Jesus gives life to a child that has died, Jesus raises Lazarus from the tomb. And as all this is happening, Jesus continues to talk about going to Jerusalem to died and rise to life-This had to be even more confusing for the disciples than the visions of Daniel. What does it mean to “rise from the dead”?
In the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus, Peter, James, and John come to see with the eyes of faith Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is the Word made flesh that John speaks of in the prologue of his gospel. Peter, James, and John are changed forever! They have seen Jesus with the eyes of faith! They have heard the voice of God; they have heard the voice of the One seated on the Throne in Daniel’s vision. They have been given an appreciation of the “all of God’s Plan” for creation. An understanding of the connection God makes with the leadership of Moses, with the call of the Prophets, and with the Way of Jesus.
Peter, James, and John were open to the gifts of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, the way of Jesus. Peter, James and John were open to the gift of the Spirit filling their lives and changing who and what they are for all time! In their very human way they wanted to stay in the moment forever. Peter wanted to build "booths" right there, right now-let us stay here and celebrate this vision, this gift for all time. We don’t ever want to leave here; it is too good to be true; we might not be able to find our way back!
Jesus will not let them stay in that “glorious moment”. Jesus insists that they go on-keep moving to Jerusalem. Jesus must live out the challenge that God has given to him. In keeping focused on his own journey, Jesus calls that first group of followers to stay focused on the journey of their own lives in search for God. Jesus is not satisfied with seeing God in one moment, on one mountain, in only one vision, in only one miracle, in only one person. Jesus sees the face of God in everyone he meets. Jesus is challenged by the face of God in every person. Jesus is called by the face of God in every person. Jesus calls all of his disciples to this same vision, this same challenge.
Today, as we listen to the words of these Scriptures, Jesus challenges us to see the face of God in our own lives. Jesus challenges us to see God in the people who are a part of our lives, in the people who need us, who challenge us, who beg us, who deny us, who hurt us, who envy us, and on and on. Jesus challenges us to see the face of God and to respond to the voice of God with all that we are. Jesus will not be satisfied if we build “booths” to stay and relish what “has happened”. Jesus will not be satisfied if we receive the Eucharist today and savor it!
Jesus, once again, calls us to live the gift of Eucharist as we move forward, as we take to next step. Jesus calls us to find our way to the New Jerusalem by responding to the Spirit that is within us-the Spirit that is the very center of our lives. What is your answer?