Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 9; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Mark 9:2-10
This Sunday we bypass the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time to celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. High on a mountain Jesus’ true identity and glory were revealed to his three closest friends. As Jesus becomes radiant in glory, he was standing between Moses and the prophet Elijah. Jesus is the bridge that joins the Law of Moses to the prophets and psalms (see Luke 24:24-27).
As Moses and Elijah heard God’s voice on the mountain in the Old Testament, so too did Jesus and his closest friends. Their vision that day revealed, without a doubt, Jesus’ true identity. He was preparing them to see beyond his coming death to more of his Father’s plan for humanity.
No greater love
On that occasion from the cloud of the Holy Spirit, the Father revealed his love for his Son, Jesus, and invites us to share in the great love of God for all of God’s children. St. John 15:14-17 told us about God’s love for his friends.
There is no greater love than this: to lay down your life for our friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer speak of you as slaves, for a slave does not know what his master is about. Indeed, I call you friends, since I have made known to you all that I heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. Your fruit must endure, so that all you ask the Father in my name he will give you. The command I give you is this, that you love one another.
Turn on the lights
If you ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind about this text, what some call the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, he will “turn the lights on in your mind” and pierce your heart with more of his love for you. Then you will want to return more love to God. Your care and love for others will increase, especially toward those closest to you at home and work.
Jesus’ loving us and calling us his friends can be overwhelming. How can Jesus love us so much in spite of all of our sins and unfaithfulness? Jesus’ love for us is so great that he forgives all of our sins when we repent and ask for forgiveness. He wants us to come closer to him and rest near his heart of love. Then, simple little prayers emerge from our “pierced heart,” like saying many times, “Jesus, I love you.”
The inner circles
Do you want to be in one of the inner circles of Jesus’ closest friends? Desire it and ask him for that gift. He will draw you closer. Then you will develop a desire to read the New Testament and other things to grow in your faith as followers of Jesus. You want to spend more time with Jesus. It is also helpful to find a group of committed fellow Christians that you can pray and share with regularly. There are many renewal movements in our Church. Join one and get closer to Jesus. It really is fun.
This special feast calls us closer to Jesus, to learn more about him so we become brighter beacons of his light in the world. God wants us to be on fire for him. You also meet more wonderful brothers and sisters in God’s kingdom. We are not called to ” pitch a tent and stay in it.” We are called to bring the love of Jesus to others. Amen. Let us move forward; many are hungry for Christ’s love.
Have a wonderful week,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR}