Ascending the Mountain with Christ… There is work to do.
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life–longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so, I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
These words belong to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. However, if you stop and think about it, they are true for Jesus as well as Peter, John and James, in the Gospel the Church proclaims today.
Peter, John and James indeed go to the mountaintop and see Jesus transfigured they see him revealed in glory. Jesus stands in between Moses, the giver of God’s law, and Elijah, considered the greatest of the prophets. Through this transfiguration of Jesus, it is revealed to these select apostles that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. And if any doubt remains, the voice of the Father makes it clear, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
The words of Peter echo a sentiment that rings clear to any of us who have had “mountain top” experiences in life, particularly in a spiritual journey. “Master, it is good that we are here.” A favorite quote of Bishop Dewane which inaugurates almost any diocesan event over which he presides.
I hope that we have all had these mountain top experiences, be it a retreat, a great experience from spiritual reading, a homily that particularly moved us, whatever it is, the Lord provides us with these that we may see his Glory revealed, because there will be a time when we must descend from the mountain and move on with the mission that we have been given from God to preach his gospel to every living creature.
As Dr. King noted “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” The same was true for these men who were on the mountain with Jesus. They would see the Son of man betrayed, beaten and crucified.
In this Lenten season, we take time to live with Jesus on that road to Calvary. We examine our own lives. As the light of Christ shines through, we may, and should notice our own imperfections. Like a window, no one notices stains or smudges at night, but during the day when the light shines through, we see those imperfections that God wishes to eliminate from our lives so that we can share in his mission to bring his love and truth to this world. There is no better way to wipe out these imperfections than the great Sacrament of Penance, which is offered here every Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, as well as at our Mercy Night on March 25. During this time of Lent, it’s good to get clean so that the light of the transfigured Christ is shining through us when we descend from the mountain top.
Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we stand on a mountaintop. At our baptism, the Father called each and every one of us his beloved daughter or son. In this Eucharist we will see Jesus Christ, crucified and offered to the Father for our salvation. We stand on the mountain top, and it is good that we are here. But we can’t stay on the mountaintop. We have a job to do, the will of God and we must descend from the mountain top and witness the love of Christ to a desperate and hurting world.
Jesus allows us to ascend to the mountain with him, because he knows that there is difficulty ahead. He knows that in this world there will be trouble, hardship, and pain. But he has given us all we need through the seven channels of grace that we call sacraments to endure all that this world has to throw at us.
We don’t know what’s going to happen now. We don’t know what the world is going to throw at us next. But we do know that this world needs a savior and his name is Jesus Christ. We do know that Jesus founded a Church built solidly on the Rock of Peter. We know that as members of his Church we are part of his glorified and transfigured body. As the Church, we stand on the mountain top as we celebrate Mass. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we able to come down, and look the world boldly in the face and say. “I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”