Pondering for Sunday, February 19, 2023

Eucharistic Readings for the Last Sunday After the Epiphany: Year A

Exodus 24:12-18Psalm 2  or Psalm 992 Peter 1:16-21Matthew 17:1-9:

“As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17:9)

Peter, James and John are picked to go up the mountain with our Lord Jesus. These three were called out from the others to go to spend a special time with Jesus.

I’m guessing they were informed about who Moses and Elijah were, given that they both were historic figures and there were no “photographs” of them.  This was a revelation given to them by the Cloud of all knowing.

And after the experience of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus, the revelation Cloud of all knowing using the voice of God, being told to not tell anyone, was asking a lot. But in hindsight, we can see why these stories were actually written much later and in a different language (Greek).

  Today there is a church built on the site where the Transfiguration supposedly took place and it is called the Church of the Transfiguration located on Mount Tabor in Galilee of Israel.

Being told not to talk about something gives one time to process what happened. Today we say that the introvert processes quietly while the extrovert processes by “talking it out.”  This might be the reason for taking these three, but then there is Peter. Peter can’t hold back even in the midst of the Transfiguration.  Peter said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:4) 

So Jesus took with him both the extrovert and the introverts. Jesus takes with him both you and me.  We are invited to see God Incarnate who is the fulfillment of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).  Moses, in his day, didn’t want to go but was sent anyway.  Elijah was all in, even taunting the prophets of Baal, “At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  (1 Kings 18:27)  Elijah mocked the prophets.

So God calls any of us to do the Lord’s work.  Be attentive therefore, our Lord will call you also to have that mountain top experience.  Dr Martin Luther King Jr. says that he experienced it in his kitchen after a hateful phone call.  This mountain top experience can happen anywhere. When it happens, it is life changing. The place it happens has nothing to do with the time God chooses. God is everywhere, all the time.  Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 to 1972 was internationally known as a scholar, activist, and theologian. He was Professor of Ethics and Mysticism that the Jewish Theological Seminary of America), says in his book, The Sabbath, that it is not the event that makes time significant, but rather, it is the time that an event happens that makes the place significant.  Jesus could have taken these followers out on a boat ride, or in a cave or a barn.  He just needed to be alone with them.

Jesus can be transformed in your presence today.  anywhere, any time. And may still ask you to not tell anyone about what you have experienced; just live out what has been revealed to you by word and deed.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Turkey and Syria.

As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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