25 February 2018 2nd Sunday Lent (B)
●Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13,15-18 ● Psalm 116 ● ● Romans 8:31b-34 ●
● + Mark 9:2-10 ●
[Title: Good that we are here.]
[__01__] It’s good that we are here. The recent and ongoing winter Olympics in PyeongChang [South Korea], is a celebration of everyone who is good.
In fact, EXCELLENT, in his or her sport, on the ice, snow, in the air and on the ground.
Good, in the terms of NBC and the Olympic TV broadcast, is often a relative measure, a comparative and competitive evaluation. Yes, it’s good; and it’s also true that Gold is better (>) than Silver …. > Bronze … Bronze > Nothing.
The goal, nevertheless, of the Olympics is not only an endeavor to evaluate and separate but also to unite and join all those who strive to be the best and to recognize sportsmanship and perseverance is not only a virtue for those with the decoration of precious metal around their necks but also those who struggled regardless of the result.
It’s good just to be there.
[__02__] On the mountain of the Transfiguration, Peter announced to Jesus, our Lord and Savior: “Rabbi, it is good that we are here.” (Mark 9:5)
Peter, James, John were enthusiastic about their front row, skybox, view for the Transfiguration. This was good.
[__03__] This good event was also an experience of community and connection.
Consider the motivations and motives that lead us to gather for a major event – a baptism/christening, anniversary or a wedding, First Holy Communion or Confirmation.
While I was studying to be a priest, I will admit it took me a while to understand and appreciate what would be asked of me – in the celebration of the cathedral, Holy Orders, the Mass of Ordination. I had never been to such a celebration, prior to the seminary.
But, I could not help but notice all the aerobic and non-aerobic effort, physical and spiritual exercises surrounding ordination day.
Good that we are here?
[__03.01__] It reminds that about a year after my studies as a priest, a year after I started my assignment here – at Our Lady of Lourdes – I saw a hometown friend who had attended that day. And, he was very glad to have been there, recalling people he’d seen. He brought his mom to my 1st Mass of Thanksgiving. And, then recalled all these details but then said to me… what was that called, what was the word… I was not sure what he was talking about. He meant the word “ordination”.
Most important, my friend was that you were there. Good that you were there.
[__04__] Leading up to all of this, a friend of mine gave me some advice about this special day of ordination as a priest – it does not matter what color or type of vestment you wear, or what music you select, or what you serve/cater for the party afterwards, or what church the Mass is in. It does not matter anything you say.
Because your family and friends are simply excited to be part of this, shall we day, Transfiguration-like event, that none of that matters.
And, he was right, the community experience, the goodness of being together outweighed any logistical detail that I might have fretted over.
[__05__] Jesus gives us his disciples this experience of the Transfiguration to sustain them, nourish them, encourage them. That is, it is good that they were there to see Jesus’ divinity, his power, because at the Passion and Death and arrest, this is an experience that do not do not experience as “Good Friday” the first time around.
And, it was a time of division not community. Good that we are here? Not so much.
For the first few days after the Passion and Death, there was no good, and certainly no “we”.
[__06__] The Transfiguration is a high point of an ongoing journey for Peter, James, John, the disciples, for us.
At this high point – elevated on the mountain, the feel, perceive they are very close to God’s power, love, mercy, blessing.
On the day of a sacred event, a family reunion, anniversary, wedding, baptism, an ordination, we may feel this same closeness to God and to each other, such affiliation, affection, acknowledgement.
But, the Lord continues to draw us close to him, not only at these sacred well defined moments, but all the time.
We remember that we are always in God’s presence, that it’s good that we are here, that his Beloved Son came to say, “this is my body, given up for you”. He is crucified and risen. It is good that we are here, listen to him. [__fin__]