This homily is given in the context of a vocation discernment retreat I am giving at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Center in Pickering. Ten men discerning their vocation spent the weekend in silent prayer. This homily is themed with the conferences for the weekend.
As the Apostles descend the mountain with our Lord, this conversation arises about what the arrival of the Messiah is meant to look like; that Elijah is to come and prepare the way for the Lord. It is then, that these men of faith realize that he is come, John the Baptist.
In another moment, Peter confesses Jesus, “the Son of the Most High God” to which Jesus declares to all that Peter has received this truth from the Holy Spirit. There are some among the believers who suspend belief until God reveals Himself in the way that they have interpreted in Sacred Scripture, or the way that was interpreted for them.
As I made mention in my introduction last night, Peter, James & John went up the mountain and in the midst of the Transfiguration they knew that something special was happening; but truthfully, they didn’t know a fraction of what it was they were experiencing?
If we were told Jesus will come again, in exactly this or that way, at exactly this time and it will look exactly like this – where would that leave us? Our faith and trust in God would make little difference, because we would just be doing what we were told.
We wouldn’t be responding in total freedom; it wouldn’t be a totally selfless gift of ourselves for God and for others and it would be to respond to God’s gift of love to us – out of fear.
But instead we don’t know the whole plan, we only know that there is a Divine Plan and we are an important part of it. Not because the Lord Himself had to allow us to be a part of that plan, but He chose to. Many things revealed, some remain hidden.
There may have been many questions on the minds of the Apostles as they descended the mountain, the glorious encounter on the mountain, but Jesus guided them to take away the best part of the experience: to know that Scripture & God’s Promise was being revealed in their very midst! They knew the glory of what was to come. As do we.
That’s what we too have been given; we know through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and His Glorious Promise that we have nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. We know from those Apostles and the others that we have a community of believers descended from them to this very day that eagerly awaits the Lord’s return, but does so by living His life here in this world, here and now.
Brothers, no matter what the Lord is calling you do in this life He’s given you – it will be to the glory of the kingdom if you earnestly, honestly, passionately respond to it. It occurs to me how much more solemn and glum maybe the trip down the mountain was,
having now experienced what they did and having that foretaste of heaven, were they to be sadly disappointed with what they experience from here on in?
I wonder if it’s like the feeling we feel after the wedding day or ordination day, when we’ve experienced so much hope & joy and then we have to get on living in the world.
When we have such great hope and strong faith in the Lord’s Promise, we are ready for the next part of the plan to be revealed, and my hope is that this is what the Apostles Peter, James and John experienced.
Hope. And joy.
And this is what I hope each one of your lives are filled with, my Christian brothers.
These Apostles were chosen for this glory, so that in the right and chosen time, they could give witness to the Lord; witness to His life, suffering, sacrifice, death, resurrection and His Glory. They were there, so that they could profess to all that we share in all of this by God’s choice and are intimately one with Him. They were chosen, but you too are chosen!
The Lord is calling you to live your lives for something much greater than yourselves, to inspire others, but to know the Lord so intimately that you have deep faith and growing trust in Him and that you will make a difference with that in whatever way your gifts allow.
Brothers, what I can assure you is that’s not a maybe. That’s an absolutely! You absolutely are called to that. What has been revealed so far is enough!
How do I know this? Look around you, you are not just a random 10 guys here, you are the men the Lord chose to be here, to get away from what you are doing and to be with Him here [at this retreat] today. Our archdiocese has just over 2 million Catholics and ten of you gave your weekend to come here. That’s not a fluke, that’s in the Lord’s plan. Listen to Him. Let Him speak. The question that we take away with us here today is what are we – what are you going to do with that?