Today’s find: ‘seeing’ and ‘believing’…
I heard an intriguing question at my ACTS team meeting on Saturday morning. As is our custom, the team members were breaking open the word—reflecting on the scripture passages we’d be hearing at Mass on Sunday morning.
The Gospel, in this case, is the familiar account of the transfiguration—this year, Luke’s version (Luke 9). Afterwards, in his reflection, our team’s spiritual companion asked something along these lines: ‘How did the apostles know that it was Moses and Elijah standing on either side of Jesus?’ I made a smart-aleck remark in reply—saying they’d probably seen their statues at the Temple. But I knew our leader had a point: Moses and Elijah both lived long before cameras had come onto the scene, so what made their faces recognizable?
‘Seeing’ was already on my mind with respect to this thought-provoking Gospel episode, thanks to a Sunday reflection sent my way from the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The reflection featured a photo of a drop-dead gorgeous sunset; and yet, somewhat surprisingly, its call-to-action focused on a different one of the five senses entirely: ‘How is God calling me to listen to what others are saying to me?’
This is a key reminder, it seems to me: We shouldn’t be tempted to dwell on the bright lights and pretty colors…the call from our Father is to LISTEN.
Not that we’re any different than Peter, James and John in that regard. Their first instinct is to erect a tent…extend the moment…maybe even sell a few tickets to the spectacle unfolding right before their eyes.
But notice what happens next: They are immediately enveloped in a cloud…making it impossible for them to rely on their sight any longer in that moment.
Teach me, Lord, when my senses fail, to become more comfortable with unknowing. Heal me of the desire to withhold belief until I have seen something for myself. Open my ears to listen for your voice, and to cherish the mystery I find in you.
Well I believe this is more than coincidence…Reading Tim Dolan’s book “To Whom Shall I Go” this morning, and the section referred to the Transfiguration and the unusual response by Peter that he did not know what to say, for once. Goes on to note the power of just being, without having to talk in prayer, and experiencing God in the silence.
I never thought about how the apostles recognized Moses and Elijah – the Gospels always uncover new nuggets (another Dolan comment).