2nd Sunday of Lent
Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
In the story of the transfiguration, Jesus’ mountaintop experience of God, Jesus spends time with God, with Moses and Elijah, Prophets and Wisdom figures, and then comes down the mountain. In this experience God says, “This is my beloved Son. LISTEN TO HIM.” We are invited, commanded really, to listen to Jesus, to his words, his teachings, his ways of acting, his very life. We are to develop an intimate relationship with him, with God. This loving encounter changes our hearts.
St. Teresa of Avila says about prayer: “Prayer is not just spending time with God. It is partly that – but if it ends there, it is fruitless. No, prayer is dynamic. Authentic prayer changes us, unmasks us, strips us, indicates where growth is needed. Authentic prayer never leads to complacency, but needles us, makes us uneasy at times. It leads us to true self-knowledge, to true humility.” Quote in LIVING WITH CHRIST March 2017, Page 63. Authentic prayer leads us to truly love our neighbor as ourselves.
It takes a lot of knowing who we are, our weaknesses and our strengths, to act as Jesus would have his followers, that is all of us, act. To be this kind of human being takes practice, prayer, humility, courage and the ability to stand up for what we believe in without judging those who disagree with us. Something I still have to work on.
After Jesus’ mountaintop experience, he did not remain on the mountain, but came down to the valleys below “leading his three disciples, back down the mountain to the very bottom of the hill: to the dirty towns and hurting people and unbelieving officials and ineffective institutions below, where the sick and outcast, the abandoned and infected waited for them, expecting the miraculous, expecting to be healed.” (Joan Chittister THE PROPHET IN YOU Lent 2017.)
Jesus came down the mountain to be with the people, all the people, healing, teaching, loving them all, ministering to them, helping them to find their own relationship with God who is always with us, among us, working through us.
As Joan Chittister says, “If we follow Jesus, then we allow “the Word of God, the Life of Jesus, to seep into our souls. Those hardened by the values of the world could then be softened, day by day, by the Words of Jesus. It is a matter of hearing over and over again, “And Jesus, looking at them, loved them”, or Jesus saying, “Do not send them away”, or Jesus directing, “The people are hungry, feed them yourselves” – and takes the clay of the human soul and softens it.” (Joan Chittister IN GOD’S HOLY LIGHT page 52)
Today we are called to bring love not hate to our world, to stand up for immigrant and refugee rights, as once people did for our ancestors, to work for affordable housing for all, to resist racism, sexism, homophobia, to honor all people of the earth, to work to change economic systems of greed to one that helps all people have enough to live human lives, and to work for a healthy earth, the home for all of us.
As Clarissa Pinkola Estes said in a talk she gave, “We were made for these times. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us. And we will know them when they appear. … In my uttermost bones I know something as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here.”
This is our call this week, climb the mountain, to the very top, experience the Living God, receive the knowledge that you are God’s beloved daughter and son, let that knowledge seep into your very heart, let it change you. Then come down the mountain. Come down to the people and work with them all, be with them, lift them up, let them lift you up, work to make God’s love visible upon our earth, and work for the care of the earth itself. Do this for as long as it takes. And as Fr. said last Sunday, look for the beauty where ever you are, whatever you are doing, look for the beauty. God is there, and where God is, is beautiful.
St Teresa of Avila, quote in LIVING WITH CHRIST, March 2017 page 63.
Sr. Joan Chittister, THE PROPHET IN YOU: GIFTS FOR PROPHECY AND TRANSFORMATION,
Sr. Joan Chittister, IN GOD’S HOLY LIGHT: WISDOM FROM THE DESERT MONASTICS.
Franciscan Media, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202, 2015, Page 52.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, WE WERE MADE FOR THESE TIMES, undated talk. She is an American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With Wolves and Untie The Strong Woman.