Sunday, March 12, 2017

Let's go up the mountain

2nd Sunday of Lent Year A 2017:
Today we hear the story of the Transfiguration.  My favorite part about this story is that it takes place on the mountain.  My Grandma and Grandpa live in Rapid City South Dakota, in the Black Hills.  I try to get out to visit them once a year.  And, even though it’s a long drive, I like to drive.  I think it gives me a couple days to unwind and relax.  But, without question, my favorite part of the drive is when I get close to Rapid city and start to get into the mountains.  I don’t know what it is about mountains, but I just love them.  I think part of the reason is because the land around here is so flat.  I mean, the Adam’s Center Landfill has to be the highest peak in the county.  I’ve lived here my whole life.  So, I’m used to flat.  Then when I see hills like those, I’m mesmerized.  I just feel like mountains are magical.
So, I love hearing about the mountains in the Bible.  The mountains are images for a place where human beings can encounter God.  Think about Moses and the Law, he goes up the mountain to meet the Lord.  These disciples meet Jesus in his glory on the mountain, along with Moses and Elijah.  Certainly this seems like an image for heaven.  Isn’t that interesting: Jesus took these disciples up the mountain, and image for heaven, and image for the place where we meet God.
The same will be true for us.  Jesus wants to help us climb the mountain as well.  Jesus is the one who grabs these disciples and leads them up the hill.  Tuesday at the Lenten series I said: “and what a wild ride Jesus took them on.”  Not only was the story of the transfiguration a wild ride.  But, think about the rest of their lives.  They became these great saints who gave everything for Jesus.  Ultimately, they climbed the mountain all the way to heaven.  But, it started with this moment on the mountain.  They see a glimpse of Jesus in his glory.  Just a glimpse.  And then Jesus says: do not be afraid.
I really like to think about this passage as referring to our life of faith as well.  Our lives as disciples begin with Jesus’ invitation.  Even if you were baptized as a baby, I’m hoping, praying, that you have had the moment in your life where you had a personal experience with Christ.  I’m hoping you have felt him grasp your hand to lead you on this adventure.
I can remember when it happened for me. I was an RCIA sponsor in 2001.  I started loving my faith more and more, I heard Jesus say: follow me.  But, I was scared.  There was a lot about my life I wasn’t ready to give up.  It was scary, but it was an amazing experience.  At the time, I had no idea just what kind of wild ride Jesus had in store for me.  I still don’t know.  But, he took me by the hand.  He led me to seminary, to priesthood, to St. Jude.  Who knows what he has in mind for the rest of my life?  It’s been great so far, and I’m going to keep letting him take me on this wild ride up the mountain.
Are you ready for that wild ride with Jesus?  It won’t be anything like you expect, but it will be amazing.  Ultimately, he wants to take you up the mountain, to be with him and his Father, and all the angels and saints for all eternity.  But, you have to let Jesus guide you on the way.

Lent is a journey towards Easter.  It’s not an easy season.  It means self-denial, prayer, fasting.  It might seem a little scary.  But, by entering into this season of grace you can catch a glimpse of Jesus, just like the apostles.  You can hear Jesus say to you: do not be afraid.  Let Jesus grab you by the hand and lead you up that high mountain.  Let him take you on a wild ride.  Don’t be afraid to climb the mountain.

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