At the retreat center where I am privileged to live, we are in the midst of our “high season.” Every weekend we welcome people of diverse beliefs and religious traditions who come seeking to deepen the spiritual content of their lives. Thus, the simple but appropriate name of this place: The Spiritual Center. It is not only those who come as participants to the programs we offer who are changed in some way or newly committed to spiritual practice. The presenters and we ourselves know the value of what is transacted here, most often in the brief space of a weekend.
The lectionary readings for today remind me of this power of the Spirit as we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus into a being of light, an event witnessed by his closest apostles, Peter, James and John. It was not unusual for Jesus to seek the companionship of these three when he desired some restful prayer time away from the crowds. One wonders, however, whether he was aware of what was about to happen to him on that mountain (see MK 9:2-10). His spiritual power had likely been growing as his ministry broadened in response to the increasingly large and needy crowds seeking solace and healing from him. His need for communion with God must have been growing apace. Thus was the event observed (with fear and trembling) by his disciples as Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus in conversation and the voice of God was heard instructing them to listen to Jesus, the Beloved One.
Peter’s witness to this extraordinary event (2 PT 1:16-19) calls all hearers to pay attention, not only to what happened to them that day but also to what is possible for those willing to listen deeply to this “all together reliable” message.
You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
May it be so with us.