“Jesus says to anyone who uses their faith or lack of faith to excuse their acts of disobedience to his call: First obey, do the external works, let go of what binds you, give up what is separating you from God's will! Do not say, I do not have the faith for that. You will not have it so long as you remain disobedient, so long as you will not take that first step. Do not say, I have faith, so I do not have to take the first step. You do not have faith, because and so long as you will not take that first step. Instead, you have hardened yourself in disbelief under the appearance of humble faith.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (1906 – 1945: was a German pastor, theologian, spy, anti-Nazi dissident,
Gospel Text: (MT 17:1-9)
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him."
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
"Rise, and do not be afraid."
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
"Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."
Are we willing to listen to Jesus, as the voice from heaven told the three apostles to do? While it is so important to pray and spend time with God, we cannot, as Peter proposed to Jesus, stay on the mountain. Filled with the hope of resurrection, we are called to go out to the world, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ most importantly by the way we live.
If we wonder how in the world we can possibly do what Jesus asks of us, we need to remember that God can transfigure us! God can heal us of fear and prejudice and resentment and self-serving; of all those things that hinder us from our call. Dare we hope to be transfigured? I’ll go one better. Dare we hope that we can contribute to the transfiguration of the world? We may differ in what that looks like. We may even be in conflict about what should be done. But there is an option for the poor, and there is an element of caring for the earth, as Pope Francis may say. The Transfiguration reminds us that Jesus can lead us to resurrection. He is calling us: “Rise, and do not be afraid.”