Jesus is the beloved Son of the Father who hands him over for us all. He announces to us the Good News of the kingdom. His true followers and partners listen to him.
Jesus ushers in the kingdom of God. He has every reason, then, to resist Satan, the power that opposes the kingdom of God and his righteousness. He does not like adversaries who would turn him away from his mission or would be obstacles to him. Rather, he wants partners.
And so, he invites the brothers Peter and Andrew and, later, James and his brother John. But as it turns out, having Peter, James and John as partners is almost like having them as adversaries (Mk 8, 31-33; 10, 35-45).
The three, then, leave much to be desired still. So, Jesus has his work cut out for him in forming partners. He continues to teach them. In his transfiguration, he gives Peter, James and John a glimpse of his being in the form of God. The theophany both frightens and draws them. So, Peter says, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
A reply comes from the cloud. It says, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Nothing at all about building tents. And to the disciples’ disappointment perhaps, suddenly they no longer see anyone but Jesus alone with them. The representatives of the law and the Prophets disappear. Jesus alone matters.
Jesus alone matters to those who would be his partners.
Seeing Jesus in his glory is undoubtedly important. But equally important is seeing him in the form of a slave. And what is of utmost importance, so that we may be his partners, is that we listen to him. Listen to him, yes, transfigured or disfigured.
The obvious questions, then, for us are: Do we listen to Jesus? Are we partners or adversaries? As St. Vincent de Paul suggests, we have to say only what God inspires us to say through his beloved Son (SV.EN XI:312, 314). We must also listen to Jesus when, upon our request, he tells us what he would do were he in our place.
And, of course, the followers of St. Vincent are to “turn the medal” (SV.EN XI:26). They should see and hear Jesus in his human likeness, in the poor people who represent him.
Lord Jesus, give us a perfect heart to receive your word and sacrament. Make us bear much fruit as your partners.
25 February 2018
Second Sunday of Lent (B)
Gen 22, 1-2. 9a. 10-13. 15-18; Rom 8, 31b-34; Mk 9, 2-10