Homily for August 6

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Homily for 8/6/2017: Feast of the Transfiguration
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

This wasn’t the only time Jesus chose Peter, James and John
to accompany him on a special mission and I can’t help but wonder
how the other 9 apostles felt about this:
were they envious?  jealous? did they grumble over this?
“How come he always asks those guys to go with him and not us??

Who among us wouldn’t love to have Jesus knock on our door and say,
“Let’s spend the day together.  We’re going on a hike!”?
Or even if he just said,
 “Come on out and sit in the back yard with me.
Bring a couple cold drinks with you and we’ll sit and talk.”

And suppose that on the hike, or sitting in the back yard,
you got to see and hear Jesus
in a way you’d never seen or heard him before?
Suppose you got to see the real Jesus - not the one you imagine -
but the real Jesus:  Jesus being Jesus!

Or does this seem to be too much?  It was for Peter, James and John:
they were overwhelmed to the point of being afraid -
so close did they find themselves here, close to the living God.
But Jesus tells them to chill - and not to be afraid.
It wasn’t his intention to frighten them -
he wanted to strengthen them so they’d be ready to face the day
when Jesus would suffer and be crucified and die.

He wanted them to see his transfigured glory and power
lest the passion and the Cross overwhelm them.
Is there anyone among us who doesn’t want, doesn’t need,
a transfiguration experience?
Some time with Jesus, hiking up a mountain or sitting in the backyard,
time to get to know Jesus better,  to let go some of our fears?

Well, there’s not a minute of any day or night when Jesus isn’t waiting,
when Jesus is ready go on a hike with us
or just sit down and talk.
He’s waiting 24/7/365 to show himself to you and ne more clearly
and to strengthen us for the suffering that we know in our lives.

Jesus is always inviting me to stop what I’m doing;
to put aside my work;
to take a deep breath (or 4 or 5 deep breaths…);
to step outside the day-to-day; to get away from it all;
to walk with him, to sit with him,
to let things go quiet, inside and out,
to be still… and to know that he’s there… with me…
and that he always will be…

We won’t have the experience of seeing Jesus
as Peter, James and John did
but there’s no doubt that Jesus wants to show himself to each of us
more plainly and in ways that each of us will understand.

This is all about prayer, about my relationship with the Lord
and my conversation with him.
And in prayer, most of the work is God’s work -not ours.
What do I need to do in prayer? 
Not too much!
But I do need to show up!

I need to welcome God:
to do what he wants to do in my life;
to speak what he wants to speak in my heart;
to change what he wants to change within me;
to help me understand what he wants me to know;
to heal and shape me to be the person he made me to be;
and to forgive me so that I might be more free in his presence.

The more I invite Jesus to show himself to me
the more I’m transfigured, the more I’m changed,
the I become the person I was created to be.

Come Sunday every week, Jesus does for each of us
what he did for Peter, James and John:
he calls us aside.

Come Sunday every week he invites us not to climb a mountain
but to quiet down and listen to his voice in the scriptures.

Come Sunday every week he calls us aside from our day-to-day
and invites us to sit down at his table with him.

Come Sunday every week, he calls us aside
and he is transfigured before our very eyes
- not in brightness and light as in the gospel -
but transfigured for us in the Eucharist,
revealing himself to us in the Bread and Cup of Communion.

Come Sunday every week he calls us aside
to show himself to us more clearly, to strengthen us
to meet and live through what suffering may be ours.

Come Sunday every week,
Jesus draws close to us here at the altar
and invites us to draw closer to him.

Pray with me and let us pray for one another
that like Peter, James and John
we will accept the Lord’s invitation
and be transfigured,
be changed,
by his love.

(My homily ends with a series of reminders, each beginning with, "Come Sunday..." 
At the preparation of the altar our cantor, Jen Harney, sang Duke Ellington's beautiful song, "Come Sunday." I regret that due to the placement of the mic, you can hear me pouring wine into four cups during the song!)


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