Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
2 Timothy 1:8-10
The Eucharist is our preview of Heaven
The marriage between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant—Moses and Elijah represent the ancient tribes, Peter James and John represent the new order—the manifestation of the Kingdom.
Remember that Moses climbed a mountain and heard the voice of God from a burning bush. The God with an unpronounceable name. Moses was not able to see the face of God, only His back. Elijah was the one who would introduce the Messiah to the world. Peter, James and John know the important part they would have. Their whole life changed on Mount Tabor, not just a little hill, but almost 2,000 feet high—quite a climb by foot. By foot the three Apostles followed Jesus to the top where they witnessed His divine nature in the Transfiguration—an experience beyond description. Not until much later were the Apostles able to put the pieces together. “Of course, we saw, we heard, we felt”. Usually that’s what happens when we are overwhelmed by beauty. We have trouble living in the moment, we cannot appreciate where we are until after the fact. (That’s why we take pictures—Why we study of History) There were no cameras, or cellphones or iPads to record the event on Mount Tabor, so St. Peter made a suggestion, “If you wish, I will made three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He wanted to capture the moment, but he had the wrong idea. The moment was only for them. The story got written in the Gospels, but none of us will ever appreciate the experience in the same way as the original privileged three. Peter was a man of action and was the impetuous speaker when others did not dare to speak. However, the voice from the cloud shut him up. The voice said, “Listen!” Besides being present to the moment the other rare quality is listening.
However, God does not give up on us. He is part of our lives. We do not need a burning bush or a prophet ascending into heaven on a flaming chariot. God manifested His presence completely in the person of Jesus Christ. We can know His name, see His face, be embraced by His love. God is no longer far away, spending His time keeping track of sins and fighting our enemies because He said, “Your sins are forgiven, love your enemies, pray for those who harm you.” We no longer need sacrifices to make God love us. Jesus came to show us that we are already loved, just because. Countless have tried, and keep trying to earn, merit, or deserve the love of God. God’s love is free.
Perhaps we are just not listening. Difficult to believe that we can receive something for nothing. The Hebrew Scriptures are filled with directives on how people had to measure up to God’s expectations. Although the whole Bible is important, we stand for the words of Jesus because He is the complete revelation of who God is because He is God. He came to reveal God who is like a Daddy, a loving, forgiving God. People did not want to listen and many still cannot believe how God can love us just the way we are. That’s why Lent is so popular. During Lent we get to do stuff. We give up meat, booze, cussing. We try to give up all the things that we shouldn’t be doing anyway. Ashes remind us that we going to die—but everybody’s afraid of a virus that might kill us all. We know that we’re going to die, we just don’t want to die today. Imagine the preview that Peter, James and John received when Jesus was Transfigured before them. Were they ready to die after seeing a piece of heaven? Were the Apostles more disposed to accepting the unconditional love of God? Previews of God’s love are given to us every day. Our challenge is to listen—to try to be aware of what seems hidden in plain sight. In the mist of the confusion, the distractions, the tensions which surround us, God’s voice can be heard, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The Eucharistic Banquet is the echo of the Transfiguration.
Jesus is here. He doesn’t come to judge, but to heal. We do not have to do anything, just listen. He is speaking.