Scripture Reflection . . .
Transfiguration of the Lord
First Reading: Daniel 7:9-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 97, “The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.”
Second Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-19
Gospel; Matthew 17:1-9
A beautiful feast today recalling the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of his closest disciples. They get a very clear experience of Jesus’ divinity. We also celebrate the power of God’s love to transform our own lives as we believe we are all beloved sons and daughters. In fact several of us as Sisters of the Holy Redeemer professed First Vows on this day as witness to this love and belief in this love as the source of our own transformation.
Today, I am staying with Jesus’ response to the disciples who are overcome by fear as they witness the transfiguration and hear God’s voice issue the words, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” As the disciples apparently fall to the ground in fear, Jesus “came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and do not be afraid.’ ”
The image of God bending over us, reaching out to lay a comforting hand upon us to take away our fear actually is as powerful an image as the transfiguration. Here the divine enters into humanity and we witness being loved and cared for by God. A love that can raise us up and transfigure us. Another image of Jesus bending down in service is the washing of the disciples’ feet right before his crucifixion. Here again is a God of love calling us to follow and be transformed.
This is a very different God then that presented in the First Reading from the Book of Daniel. Here we see “the Ancient One” on a throne in what we might imagine to be the clouds of heaven; an image of divinity removed from humanity. This is an image of God that could be a source of fear rather than love.
Fear only hinders our transformation and is actually the opposite of love. God desires that we believe we are his beloved daughters and sons. Believing in this unconditional love has the power to dispel fear.
God longs to transfigure our fears into love. And Jesus reveals what love looks like; he bends down to those and those parts of us that are made low and vulnerable by fear, and raises up.
In Our Lives as Sisters of The Holy Redeemer . . .
This past week love overcame fear:
On Monday, July 31 we remembered our Foubdress, Mother Alphonse Maria who died on this day 150 years ago. Hers was a simple fragile life in which the love of God shone through; a life transfigured.
A few of our Sisters and Redeemer Associates just returned from Germany and France where they not only shared and reflected on our spirituality and Charism; they experienced it as well. They told of an encounter with a small family, mother, father and their little boy who couldn’t find a place to stay in the city because of a big event (sound like another family you’ve heard of …). Love over ruled any fear or distrust and the family was given a room and meal at our mother house. Apparently it was the crucifix our Sisters wear that allowed the family to notice them in the crowded street and feel safe to ask for help.
Preparations continued for Vacation Bible School. Love is the driving force behind this project as we look forward to welcoming 60 children in a week!
We join in hope with one of our Sisters who began her last round of chemo this past week. We have seen how love has overcome fear in her life – truly a transfiguring experience. By the way, today she also celebrates 33 years since making her First Vows! We give thanks to God.
In Your Life . . .
You may want to pray to be more aware of the fears that you experience and perhaps are not even fully aware of. This awareness can be a blessing as you ask God to transfigure the fear – bring it into the light so you can grow in love. What might be some of your fears? Bring them to God to touch and then listen to the words of peace God wants to speak to you. “You are my beloved child . . . Listen to me; believe I love you; do not be afraid.”
Blessings on your week!