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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Let's Listen to His voice

''But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him''.

(Luke 9:32 NKJV)

Luke's account of the transfiguration follows Christ's promise of "about eight days" that some would not die without seeing the kingdom of God. Only three disciples, Peter, John, and James, were led by Jesus to pray that day. It was there that something humanly inexplicable happened, "the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening", the transfiguration and contemplation of his glory. They saw Moses and Elijah appear and speak with him, pillars of the Old Testament. The first represents the Law, Elijah the prophets. Jesus came to be the fulfillment of the Scriptures, he came to show the work of God to humanity, which based all expectations on the law of Moses and on the prophets. The ultimate goal of the Scriptures is always the proclamation of Christ, so that He may be glorified. Anyone who knows and recognizes Him will enter the kingdom of God, becoming part of His plan. The experience of the three disciples is the discovery of God. On the mountain the three knew that Jesus is the Son of God, they experienced something that could not be told in words and from which they did not want to break away. Yet they had been brought there to pray, but they had fallen asleep. Prayer is often considered a useless fallback. Many do not believe in its potential. They see "I pray for you" as a gentle step away from their problem. A sincere attitude to prayer, on the other hand, is not an escape, but a search for divine help. Jesus himself withdrew in prayer every day to seek the Father. And we are called to look to him to seek his support. Peter's request not to come down from the mountain was an escape, an expression of our selfish nature, interested only in itself. Faced with that vision, everything else takes a back seat to the point of wanting to build three tabernacles, just to stay there. Luke points out that Peter did not know what he was saying (v. 33).

The transfiguration leads us to open our eyes to the way of relating to God. We must cancel "for us", as proposed by Peter. The Lord calls us so that we can say and do "for others", for those far from the mountain and who have not yet seen what our eyes have seen. Christ does not respond to Peter. Sometimes Jesus does not answer our questions, it is probably better that he does not. The scene welcomes a second event: a cloud envelops them. This recalls the experience of the tabernacle of Moses when it was surrounded by a cloud, the shekhinah, or the glory of God. When we isolate ourselves from worldliness to put ourselves at His feet, with the desire to remain there forever, it can happen that the Lord presents with His glory and envelops us with His presence. The reaction can then be fear, as it happened for the three. Many are afraid of being afraid. I believe instead that fear helps us to live better, it reminds us of our limits, calling us to be prudent. This fear reminds us that we do not know everything and that things we do not know frighten us: illness, having to cross the valley of the shadow of death, facing difficulties when work fails. While they were in fear, a voice reassured them: “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Luke 9:35). In confusion, in fears, Scripture becomes the compass for not losing the right path. When we are losing knowledge of reality, we listen to his voice through the word.

Finally, from the mountain you always go down! Jesus came down continuing his ministry, because down from the mountain there is another experience to have, to see Christ glorified in every brother and sister. When we are able to look at our neighbor and see Christ in his eyes, it will mean that we have been on the mountain and we have understood that Jesus dwells in the other. Several times the Gospel reminds us that doing something to those in need, to one of the "least" ones, will be like doing it to and for the Lord: serving God is equivalent to serving others. If the ministry is manifested in the care of the other, every believer will learn to look with love, tolerance, respect and charity, since it is in the other that the Lord dwells. Jesus summarized the commandments as:''You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37, 39). If this is our Christianity, we will not only enter the glory of God, but we will live with a smile and an extra hope, the joy of doing to others what we would like to receive. This joy will be the perfume of the hope of God's glory, it will be the shekhinah, which envelops us and does not frighten us because the Lord is with us and remains with us.


Weekly Bible Reading

Plan #19

May 02, 1 Kings 12-13; Luke 22:1-30 May 03, 1 Kings 14-15; Luke 22:31-46 May 04, 1 Kings 16-18; Luke 22:47-71 May 05, 1 Kings 19-20; Luke 23:1-25 May 06, 1 Kings 21-22; Luke 23:26-56 May 07, 2 Kings 1-3; Luke 24:1-35 May 08, 2 Kings 4-6; Luke 24:36-53

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