The Parish Word: 7 and 8 March 2020

The Gospel Picture: A snapshot of a wonderful moment of Jesus’ life. His father lifts him up for the world to see. More proud of His child than of all his other achievements. A New Creation; God has entered the world and human existence. The Father speaks to him words of love and acclaim, loud enough to hear. Bathes him in the light of heaven. The onlookers are thrilled. “Listen to him!” they are told. And we have the Gospel picture for life; we are to be nourished with that love and life and light. And we must listen.

Fear: But the disciples fell on their faces, afraid. Fear is the most crippling of all human emotions. It drains our energy, leaves us paralysed and tired. Nervousness sometimes spurs us on to do our best, but other times, it holds us back. Maybe the disciples were simply overawed in the presence of such dazzling brightness, but maybe they just felt totally humbled and sinful in God’s sight. But Jesus touched them and said ‘Don’t be afraid. Get up!’ What encouragement! Have you ever been touched by Jesus in this way? You have! But you haven’t recognised Him in your friends and family.

Down the mountain: Peter, James and John opened their eyes and ‘they saw only Jesus’. “Tell no one about this vision until the Son of Man is risen from the dead” he said. But they did tell others, because he did rise from the dead, and those others have told us… and here we are as followers of Jesus in 2020. The Gospel disciples were so overcome by having witnessed the glory of Jesus that they couldn’t keep it a secret. What do we do? Have we seen this side of Jesus? Do we keep our faith as something private to ourselves alone? We too are children of God, who says to us ‘You are my beloved son, my daughter’, and we have a task to do. There’s a family to love, wounds to be healed, faith to be lived. We have to bring Jesus into the real world. Mountains are lovely places, but God came down to our level in Jesus, and we must find him, especially in some of the unlovely places in our lives.