Remember when we were children? Remember the classroom? Consider how often the teacher had to say, “Quiet down!”; “Pay attention!”; “Listen!”. Children are easily distracted.
Peter, James, and John were not children, yet they were distracted. The trip to the mountain with Jesus is like looking in the mirror. From childhood until now we are a generation that is easily distracted. We lose the focus of who we are. With so much negativity around us, we are tempted to believe the lies. Bad news makes the headlines while good news is often unspoken. When we hear about wars, the economy, a new mutation of the virus—we panic. Fear keeps us distracted. Fear prevents us from listening. Fear, which is closely related to doubt, is one of the devil’s weapons. If we are fearful enough someone will pull the trigger, someone will throw the fist punch, someone will yell the first insult. Then we forget who we are in Christ. We forget His Commandment to love each other. Emotions get the better of us. Just like Peter, James, and John who got carried away by their emotions. Jesus had not taken them on a sight-seeing tour. They climbed the mountain with Jesus to share an intimate moment with Him. The Lord allowed them to see His Divine Nature in the Transfiguration. Rather than appreciating the moment of intimacy, they began thinking of what they were going to do. “Doing” stuff is easier than “being” what God has called us to be. That’s why the Season of Lent is often a task of “giving up” something rather than allowing ourselves to be transformed.
Giving up chocolate, or booze or television can be measured in 40 days. A certain feeling of “accomplishment” comes at Easter that we’ve managed to “do something” good. God must be pleased with us. We try to do good things so that God will love us. And we forget that we do good things because God already loves us. The challenge is to look inside ourselves—to do some soul-searching and try to discover the behavior that needs to change. For example, what changes do we need to make in order to be kinder, more patient with our spouse? What must happen so that we can be more forgiving of the folks who do not agree with us? Internal change can reflect the transformation that Lent might bring when we allow ourselves to climb the mountain. Jesus took the “Big Three” up the mountain to be alone with them. There was no noise. While there were no interruptions; the Apostles became the interruption.
At times we are our worst enemy. We don’t have to look for trouble, the trouble is inside. Wherever we go, there we are. We take our “baggage” with us. The resentments, the hurts, the unresolved issues come to the surface just at the time that we want to pray. When we want to be holy, all hell breaks loose. Because evil wants to distract us. The devil knows which buttons to push. When we get caught up in the distraction, we forget who is in front of us. Happens often in Church. Jesus Christ is here. The Altar is our mountain. The Lord gives Himself to us completely in the sharing of the Word and in the breaking of His Body. We are tempted to focus on the wrong stuff. “Did I make a ‘good confession’?” Someone is not dressed appropriately. As usual, the cellphone rings from the same person who always forgets to turn it off. Jesus never invites us to the mountain to tell us how bad we are. He invites us for an intimate moment of Holy Communion. Means that we must leave the garbage at the bottom of the mountain. Our time with the Lord is not about problem solving, but just to experience a little bit of heaven. We are already sitting with all the Saints at the heavenly Banquet when we come to Holy Mass.
If we allow Jesus Christ to transform us, we will be more like Him. That’s our goal—to become what we eat. Welcome to the mountain.