God is with us

2nd Sunday of Lent
Beloved in the Lord, 1400 years before Christ, Moses prepared to ascend Mt. Sinai. Before he did this, he sent 12 men to offer sacrifice to God. Then, taking with him Aaron (his ‘right-hand-man), and two brothers, Nadab and Abihu, they went up the mountain along with 70 elders. It says, ‘there on that mountain, they saw God.’
.
Today, we read something similar in the gospel. It is not Moses, but Jesus, who goes up a mountain, Mt. Tabor. He takes with him Peter, his right-hand-man, and two brothers, James and John. This is exactly parallel to the events of the Old Testament, where Moses, taking Aaron, and then two brothers, goes up the mountain, and they see God. But in the case of Jesus, with Peter, James, and John – on that mountain, do they see God? Wow! Do they!
.
‘And his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white….and behold, from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” Today, Christ reveals a little sample of his Divinity. This marvelous, luminous glory of God – the Divine Nature of Christ is allowed to bust forth.
.
Now in these events, Our Lord is teaching, not only with words, but with his actions. Since the days of Moses, Israel had organized itself according to it’s founding events. Moses had chosen 12 men to offer sacrifice, i.e., priests; he chose his right hand man Aaron to be High priest. And he took 2 brothers with him, Nadab and Abihu. And then there were the 70 others.
.
At the time of Christ, the structure of the governing bodies of Israel were based on this model. There was the High priest and his inner circle; there were his 12 assisting priests in the temple. And there was the governing council of Israel called the Sanhedrin, made up of 70 members. All of this followed the model seen around Moses. These are the key numbers: 12 – 1 – 3- 70
.
Now how does Jesus arrange his ministry? First, he chooses 12 apostles. There is that number 12. We see that when he went up Mt. Tabor, he took with him his 3 inner circle: Peter James and John – there is that number 3. Peter, his number one man, who will become the “high priest” of the Church, and two brothers: James and John, just like at Mt. Sinai. Furthermore, after this mountain event, Christ sends out 70 disciples. So there is that number, 70. What is Jesus up to?
.
The High priest of Israel, and the Sanhedrin – it is certain, were carefully watching what Jesus was doing, and what do they see? They see him assembling around him, the exact same structure that they have: 12 – 1- 3 – 70. Peter will be the new ‘high priest.’ The 12 apostles are the new leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel just like the 12 priests in the temple. And his sending the 70 to preach, shows that he is replacing the Sanhedrin. Therefore, the leaders were furious.
.
Jesus did not need to say one word, his actions told it all. He is building a new priesthood and new leaders; He is forming the New Israel – the Church. But the center of the New Israel is not a dead law nor an earthly temple, nor the memory of Moses, but the Living Jesus, who is God.
.
On that mountain, Christ shows us the glory of the world to come; not just in himself, but in us, his disciples; this glorious life of the future resurrection. As St. Paul will say: ‘I consider that the sufferings of this present time can’t even be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.’
.
But the joy of Mt. Tabor is not only for the world to come; we are to live it now, by anticipation. Why? Because Jesus is living in us; he is with us. As scripture says, ‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?’
.
Friends, we are ultimately to be Transfigured in glory as Christ is. We follow him. But that transfiguring of ourselves is already beginning. It began in our baptism, when God took up his life in our soul. And the more that we follow God’s will, live the life of Christ, then the more we are transfigured from glory to glory.
.
Let us then, never let the Lord leave us, all the day and all the week; through our work and duties and business, let us always find time to glance to our Savior who dwells within us. This is to keep the Presence of God. No matter the obstacles of life, we should always be able to turn to our heart and say as Peter said on the mountain: ‘Lord, it is good to be here with you.’ This is what the saints tell us is the foundation of a happy life: keeping it in mind: God is here, he is in us.
.
St. Paul of the Cross would say: ‘Frequently stir up your faith, when you are studying, working, or eating; when you go to bed and when you rise, make aspirations to God.’[i] Speak to him, who is with you. In this way, our problems are easy and our burdens are light.
.
My mother had a favorite passage of Scripture, she kept it written on a little note for herself, from Psalm 27:
‘One thing I ask of the Lord, this I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, and behold the beauty of the Lord in his temple.’
.
This we can do, today. We can dwell with the Lord all the days of our life.
.
May the Blessed Virgin help us to always keep the Presence of God; that in our work and in our play, we may always say: ‘Lord, it is good to be here with you.

.

[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Camillus]

.

[i] How to Pray always, p. 105

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation