Thursday, February 18, 2016

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 2nd Sunday of Lent C by Beverly Bingle RCWP

Thus story of Jesus' transfiguration
shows up in four of the canonical scriptures—
the three synoptic Gospels
and the 2nd century letter of Peter—
and all of the writers re-shape the story
to fit their own narrative.
Most agree that Mark's version is the first of these four.
Luke shapes his version—today's Gospel—
so it is parallel to his later scene
of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Some scholars think
that both the transfiguration and the ascension
come from the one and the same experience of Jesus
by his followers.
What really happened, and what does it mean for us?
We can be fairly certain
that Jesus often went off alone to pray,
just as he regularly went to the synagogue.
That he was a man of prayer comes across loud and clear.
We know, from own experience and observation,
that periods of meditation and prayer
can have visible results.
Sometimes we see that a change has taken place in a person,
like after a retreat.
Sometimes we see people
acting on decisions or commitments or re-commitments
that they made while at prayer.
So what's going on here?
Jesus goes apart to pray and has a profound experience,
hearing God deep in his being, affirming him:
“You are my chosen one,” he hears;
“In you I am well pleased.”
Jesus has been working hard to bring extraordinary change
to the way people live,
the way they act toward one another,
the way they share the goods of the earth with all
instead of accumulating them for themselves.
Jesus finds the strength to continue on that path.
He feels God’s affirmation and is transformed by it,
so enlivened that Peter, James, and John
see the change in him—
he's literally glowing.
We know the truth of this story
because it has happened to each of us at some point.
We've had that uplifting experience,
that moment of clear vision
and firm commitment
and affirmation.
Maybe it was at graduation,
confident and ready to head into a career
that was before only a dream and a hope.
Or when we stood at the altar and said “I do,”
committing our life and love in marriage.
Or when a child was born.
We don't have words to really communicate
what we feel at times like that.
Like walking on air.
Like being in a cloud.
It's surreal.
We are changed, and so are the people around us.
Jesus feels God’s affirmation and is transformed by it,
so enlivened that the disciples see him literally glowing
Peter wants to stay in the moment—
put up some tents to keep everything where it is,
capture that time
and live there forever.
But he has to leave the moment behind,
leave the mountain,
go forward,
continue on the way.
We have to go forward, too.
Graduation day passes into job hunting.
The wedding turns into marriage.
The baby needs a diaper change,
gets an ear infection.
The affirmation we experienced in prayer
becomes an imperative to action.
We know what we have to do,
and now it's time to go on and do it.
For Jesus, life with God means going to Jerusalem,
continuing in God’s way of peace and justice.
For us, life with God means the very same thing.
Lent can be one of our times on the mountain,
a time to pray and reflect,
to get ready for those next steps along the way.
And on that path, on the way with Jesus,
we, also, will be changed.
We will be transfigured.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

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