Reflection on 14th Sunday: 7 July 2019

One word that occurs in all three readings today is “peace”. Isaiah speaks of God sending “flowing peace, like a river”. Paul speaks of the peace and mercy that come to all who become “an altogether new creature”, a genuinely transformed person in the image of Jesus. And, in the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to bring peace with them to every house they enter. This peace is not dependent on outside circumstances. It can exist even when we are surrounded by storms. It is the peace Jesus experienced after his prayer in the garden. It is the peace that Paul experiences, even though he has had his share of the “cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” and bears in his own body the marks of Jesus’ pain and suffering.

What is this peace? “When we keep our spiritual centre, our spiritual ground; when we know what is essential i.e. to know who we really are at our deepest level, then we experience true peace. Only then can we share what we have to offer.”

R.Rohr

We are called today to become labourers with Jesus in the harvest that is the society in which we live. It is a society that seems so rich and prosperous and yet is so impoverished of the security and peace it so frenetically seeks to find. We are called today to labour so that our society may be gradually transformed into a place where the values of the Gospel, often so little understood even by ourselves, will prevail.

Christianity is not an end in itself. It is simply a very effective way of becoming that altogether new kind of human person that Jesus and Paul speak about. This new person has a deep sense of both God’s utter transcendence and utter immanence, the God who constantly calls us beyond where we are and who, at the same time, deeply penetrates our being and our every experience. This new person lives a life of perfect integrity and truth, a life of deep compassion and concern. This new person lives in freedom and peace.

Living Space / Sacred Space

“Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos, where you find the peace you did not think possible and see what shimmers within the storm.”

John O’ Donohue

Reflection on the 2nd Sunday in Lent: 17th March 2019

Listen

The transfiguration of Jesus must have been a glorious experience for Peter, James and John. They wanted to stay there, as we all do when we have a peak experience. But they had to descend into the valley, to live their lives, to follow Jesus. It doesn’t seem that we grow in depth if we only have peak experiences, if we stay on the mountain top. Things have trouble growing on mountaintops. Beyond the tree line almost nothing will grow because it is too cold and there is a lack of moisture. Living things grow best in the valley: they can develop roots; they are grounded. While they may lack the excitement of mountain peaks, valleys tend to be growing places. But it is in the valley that we really acquire depth, rootedness, strength and flexibility. That is where we are called to mature emotionally and spiritually. Of course, we need both; we can’t always live in the valley.

Often our reading of this story focuses on what is seen but do we sometimes emphasise the light of transfiguration to the exclusion of the voice of transfiguration? We are looking but are we listening? A voice came from the cloud and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” ‘Listen’ is the only thing the disciples are told throughout this whole event. Listening is central to transfiguration. Yet Luke records no words or teaching from Jesus during this event. Jesus is silent. So it must be about more than words, instructions, and lessons. True listening is an interior quality, a way of being. It is more about the heart than the ears. And it is more about silence than words. Ultimately, listening is about presence.

Listening creates an opening through which the transfigured Christ enters and transforms us. Listening asks of us intention, attention, and letting go of the things that deafen us. Anything that destroys or limits presence is a form of deafness. We are being told to be present, to be open, to be receptive to the one who is always present to us, whether we are on the mountaintop or in the valley or covered by the cloud of unknowing.

Queen of Apostles website; Michael Marsh