A woman died and went to heaven. She headed directly to the complaint department to state: “It was not my time. I wasn’t sick. I’m only 50 years old!” St. Peter said, “You have a point. A mistake was made. I’ll send you back and give you 20 more years.” The woman was revived and felt so good about herself that she treated herself to a facelift. While she was under the knife, she asked for a tummy tuck and other beauty adjustments. She came out looking spectacular! As she walked out on to the street a car ran over her, and she died. Back at the complaint department she slammed her fist on the counter and told St. Peter, “You promised me 20 more years.” He said, “I’m so sorry, I just didn’t recognize you.”
That’s the reason that at 50-year class reunions we need to wear name tags with pictures from the year we graduated. We all change. What doesn’t fall off usually starts to droop. Sometimes we fail to recognize each other because we are looking only on the outside. As we are aware, adjustments can be made to our physical appearance. What is on the inside is most important. Our soul must be our priority, always. Unlike the joke, there are no second chances. The passing of each day brings us closer to our destination—heaven. Distractions are ever present: finances, the children, the house and we forget about our goal. The tail starts to wag the dog. Mundane concerns become more important than our relationship with Jesus Christ. Some folks stay away from Holy Mass because of other commitments. What can be more important than Jesus Christ? How can we justify missing Mass on the weekend, which is the bare minimum? We are the ones who are here, but there are countless out there who are not aware. Our responsibility is to tell them; invite them; help them. Only Peter, James and John went up the mountain with Jesus. When they came down, they spread the word, otherwise we would never have known.
Even the Apostles had their list of excuses. For starters, they were afraid. Peter, James and John were not in control. They didn’t know what was happening. Their distraction was to make three tents. However, the voice from the cloud told them to shut their mouth and appreciate the moment. Given the number of distractions that bombard us, we have difficulty appreciating the moment. Consequently, our family, the person in front of us, our friends are often neglected. Many have forgotten how to listen. Little wonder that we often have to repeat what we said, because folks aren’t listening.
Look at what Jesus had to do to get the attention of Peter, James and John. Most of us will never have the experience of climbing a mountain to be alone with the Lord. Even if we visit Mount Tabor, there are many pilgrims present. Yet, we can come to the “silence” anytime, anywhere. We can shut off the noise, all the distractions, the worries and spend a few moments listening to the One who will not disappoint us. Our mountain experience is Holy Mass. Particularly here, phones should be off or silent. Precious moments after Holy Communion are moments of intimacy. The Lord wants to speak to us. Our vocation is to listen. We cannot listen if we are talking, even reciting prayers or intentions. Takes practice to strip ourselves of personal agendas. Every Holy Mass is a preview of heaven. The Beatific Vision is now and not yet. We get only a taste. Although we do not have the same experience of Peter, James and John, we have an advantage of being able to eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ. This moment is all that we have. The Lord has invited us to come to the mountain, unworthy as we are. The vision is before us because Jesus Christ is truly present. He gives us Himself in the Blessed Sacrament.
Do not be afraid, just listen.