Sunday, March 16, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

"Listen! If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts! Listen!"

The transfiguration of Matthew sends an important message, not only to the disciples who shared the moment with Jesus, but to all of us, every Christian.

Jesus took three disciples with him up the mountain, the place where sacred things occurred. There, they experienced God’s presence. Moses and Elijah appeared standing near Jesus. Immediately, Peter felt the need to "do" something. He wasn’t content or peaceful enough to just "take in" the experience. It wasn’t enough to simply receive what God was clearly giving to them. He wasn’t aware that, in that moment, God was calling him.

So while Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them all. In fear the disciples fell face down on the ground. A voice — the voice of God — spoke: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” Jesus then touched them saying: “Get up and do not be afraid.” When they did get up, they saw "just Jesus."

What a scene! What a moment! The amazing and the ordinary stood side by side. Visions of prophets, a glorified transfiguration, bright lights and voices, all streamed together to "call" the disciples deeper into the mystery of God revealed in Jesus. All were "calling" the disciples to faith. Initially, they feared. It really was too much. But at the gentle touch of Jesus the disciples were once again "called" to not fear but to have faith.

This whole experience was a very deep call to enter more deeply into the unfolding mystery of Jesus who asked for the mystery to be fulfilled before they shared it with others.

How does this story call us? Do we ever experience the voice of God clearly speaking to us in the ordinary? Do we have "mountain top" experiences in church, at work, in our family, with neighbors, with friends, with enemies? Do we find ourselves fearing, then being touched, only to discover we are being "called" to faith?

Grace is indeed amazing. God is always at work in all things. Faith leads us to see and understand in new ways. To be open, waiting, wanting, seeking is the attitude we need to experience those little mountaintop moments again and again. Not fear, but faith!

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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