Transfiguration Yr A (2017)
Ss. Peter & Paul, Danville
The Lord Jesus would have made good use of hashtags, I think. “Please Lord, grant that my sons might sit one on your right and one on your left in heaven…” #HeadDesk. “Never, Lord – You cannot die – we won’t stand for it…” #FacePalm “It is good that we are here, Lord – we’ll make three shrines right here to commemorate what just happened…” #really #MissedTheBoat #BarkingUpTheWrongTree
I can see the Instagram post: Jesus taking a selfie with Peter in the background looking confused, Jesus breaking the third wall in the image, shrugging his shoulders, #WhataRYaGonnaDo. I can see the meme on Facebook…Jesus transfigured into His Divine reality before them…Peter, James and John running around with slide rules and tape measures, pounding in stakes marking where the shrines will be erected, and God the Father’s voice booming from the very heavens saying #SquadGoals #Not.
Sometimes we just don’t get it. That’s just the reality. Even those who knew Jesus the best sometimes just completely wiffed, struck out, #clueless… That’s the way it was even for our great patrons Peter & Paul. Sometimes they just missed it. #HereWeGoAgain That’s the way it was for them…and that’s the way it is for us, sometimes, too. Right?
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and remember someone has something against you, go first and reconcile to them, then come and offer your worship and praise.” But I can’t control if they’re mad at me; I’ll accept their apology when they come. #HeadDesk Hey – I’m at peace with everyone, see? I hold hands during the Our Father and put on a friendly face during the Sign of Peace. #FacePalm
“I have not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Not a single part of the law will pass away. Be holy, as your heavenly father is holy. Don’t kill, or even harm another with your words – don’t commit adultery, or even look with lust on someone else – give to God what belongs to God, your worship, your priority, your faith and trust.” But times have changed, surely Jesus didn’t understand – or the Church didn’t understand – the realities of same sex attraction; I’m only looking at these images on a screen, it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and it’s my body after all, right? My body, my choice – it’s not a baby until its born, and until then it’s my right. I don’t ever say mean things to someone else’s face. Nobody takes Holy Days of Obligation seriously – Jesus understands – I’m just too busy and have other plans, so it’s no big deal – I get to Mass most weekends, that’s good enough. Confession is antiquated – I go once in a while, and besides – I’m a good person, I try to be nice, and I haven’t killed anyone, what’s the big deal? #HereWeGoAgain #SMH (that means ‘shaking my head’ if you don’t have your lingo on lockdown…
That’s just how it is…. it’s how it was back then, and it’s how it is with us. Sometimes we just don’t get it. Sometimes we fumble the ball just like they did.
But…Jesus doesn’t just shake His head and wander off. (Though I do think He shakes His head, smh.) He doesn’t give up hope. Even when He corrects or chastises, there’s more to the story. We miss the boat – we wiff – we overlook or misunderstand – and what does Jesus do? He tells us not to be afraid…He invites us to look at Him so that we can understand better. He comes and touches us, He takes us by the hand and bids us stand up beside Him without fear – and instead of looking at ourselves, instead of trying to figure it out on our own, instead of feeling frustrated that we missed it again or feeling afraid that we’ll never get it – instead of leaving us confused and guessing, Jesus comes near to where we are, revealing Himself for who He truly is…because it is only in seeing Him that we can understand ourselves – it is only in seeing Him for who He is that become able to be who we really are.
That’s why we have the Eucharist and Mass – so that in our quest to become joy-filled missionary disciples, we can gaze on Jesus in all of His reality here on the altar; gaze upon the one who loved completely, sacrificed completely, so that we can see the beauty and radiance of such love and become transformed by that love into that love as we gaze upon Him. That’s why we have the sacraments – tangible encounters with Jesus Himself – which reveal ever more deeply who He is, the one who adopts us in baptism, who commissions us for service in confirmation; Jesus who feeds us in the Eucharist and forgives us in Confession. When Jesus lifts our gaze to Himself in the sacraments, He empowers us to become bridges to God’s family, forgiving others as we’ve been forgiven, becoming women and men who are wholly devoted to the spread of the Gospel and the salvation of souls, just like He is. That’s the lesson of the transfiguration: Jesus reveals Himself to his friends so we can see more clearly who we are…
You and I – we’re missing the boat sometimes. We make Jesus shake his head, and facepalm and headdesk every now and then. But…with a smile, I think. A loving, gentle, hopeful smile. And then…He takes us by the hand, leads us to the altar, brings us to the confessional, reveals Himself to us and invites us to look at Him and see our destiny. And in His Transfiguration, we are transformed.
Then he leans back, gathers us into the selfie, takes a beautiful snapshot, and posts it: #SquadGoals #OnFleek