With God, we expect drama. We stopped going for Sunday Mass because it seems the same every Sunday. We lose our focus in faith life because nothing seems to be happening. After all, in this year-long pandemic, where on earth is God? Fr Timothy Radcliffe wrote on the drama of the Eucharist about how God is slowly revealed in our life; slow because God must be taken in the context of our whole life’s journey.
We live in a hasty age. We expect instant replies to our texts. We want things done fast. We are programmed to expect. We want results; that’s all that matters. We keep our eyes fixed on achieving and become oblivious to what is happening to us in the ruthless strive to attain the result. In this same haste, believing in God becomes an instant expectation of a miracle. We cannot accept God’s silence in between. But is God really silent, or is it us who need to be silent?
One of the main themes of Lent is to return to God. Life will take us on a journey. God expects that at the end of this journey we find happiness in Him. Along the way because of our human nature, we are distracted by other forms of happiness, more so in this hasty age. These cause changes in us, altering our values and behaviors. But God does not alter his expectation of happiness for us and so get to work in these areas within us to return us to him. And God is a silent worker. The dramas and miracles of God often (maybe only) happen inside us.
When we search to return to God, we always make the mistake of looking for him in big, external things. But in truth, God is found in the little details of our internal self. Here in our heart is where the drama of the Transfiguration takes place for us. (Today’s Gospel). Again, it is not the big results of worldly life that matters but who we are and who we have become.
God promotes self-denial especially in this age of self-concern. Giving and sharing, being generous, all require God’s graces to work in us. We are required not only to be kind in material but also in attitude Each time when we bite our tongue when angry or fast on having the last word, we witness the silent grace of God. It is difficult enough to squeeze out even an ounce of forgiveness, let alone to drop that boulder of bitterness, but each time we do, we hear the words of the Transfiguration in us, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him”. And this drama occurs in us day in, day out but we must be silent.
After the Transfiguration, Jesus descended the mountain to continue his journey to Jerusalem, through the Cross for the Resurrection. Embracing our faith does not mean a life without suffering. What faith mean is that we know where God is amidst our suffering. We just need to be silent to find Him. The story of Abraham and Isaac is not about God’s unreasonable demand but for complete trust in him. As we close each chapter of our life, it ends with these same words, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him”.
The drama we expect from God comes at the end of our last chapter. It comes when we rise again on the final day. In death, there is life. This is the miracle that awaits us of our worldly life. Meanwhile we journey on. Be silent.
2nd Sunday of Lent