Sunday 29 June 2014

The Transfiguration of the Lord, Feast

Mountain tops are places where we sometimes experience the beauty of nature, the awesomeness of God's creation, and from these we get a glimpse of God's omnipotence (great or unlimited authority or power). In some situations, we could experience the presence of God and we feel humbled and long to stay in His presence for as long as possible.

In today's Gospel, Peter, James and John experienced the presence of God when they saw Jesus transfigured. They had never experienced their master in this way before. Peter, filled with awe says, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. Let us erect three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But things did not quite work out that way. They were only being prepared for what is to come. With Jesus they descended the mountain to the valley below and on to the garden of Gethsemane and Calvary. On the mountain, they didn’t want to leave. In the Garden of Gethsemane, they didn’t want to stay. When Jesus was arrested they all fled in fear.

We can all identify with the apostles because in our mountain-top experiences of joy and consolation we also want to stay. We want the experience to go on forever. And then in the moments of trial we want to flee. We forget that our Lord did not promise us a rose garden, but a garden of olives and a crown of thorns. We also forget that we need to face reality and go forth to proclaim the Good News, not just remain up in the mountain.

Today, we have opportunities to experience the mountain top, perhaps on a daily basis. The Mass is our mountain-top experience which prepares us for the trials of our day. In the joy and consolation of Communion we say with Peter, "Lord, it is good for us to be here" and some of us may be reluctant to leave. Soon we hear the words, “The Mass is ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” It is then time for us to pick up our cross and leave to face the trials of the day. Are we still clinging on to the mountain top?

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