February 14th 2021
Fr. Abi John
Text: Mark 9; 2- 8
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one[a] on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,[b] one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
During the whole season of Epiphany we read how Jesus manifested in the world. The divinity of Jesus was encountered by the disciple who went with him for prayer. I would like to reread the above text within the context of worship and prayer. This an attempt to examine our worship practices in a world filled with riddles.
Led them up a high mountain: Mountaintop experiences or moments are an expression of the feeling that one is having an encounter with God. Paul Tillich uses the word ‘kairos'' to describe such experiences. In philosophical hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation), one can say it's the intersection of existence with the essence of ultimate being or vice-versa. Kairas is a realized spiritual state with God the ultimate being or ultimate concerns. Being with God is an experience of being filled with justice, peace, and love. It’s about self-realization. The mystery of self and its relational meaning could be understood in the light of God. God, being the creator and the redeemer, helps us to understand the real meaning of our life. It’s in spirit we are anointed to experience God to exemplify in action. We are called to engage our faith in action. Sunday worship could be interpreted as a mountaintop experience, a call to relate with God with truth and openness as well as finding answers within and in the community. It's basically an act for a renewed relationship. Sunday or other worship is a call to relate with God. We worship both in spirit and mind. It's a holistic act of spirituality to self-discover our existence to realize the meaning of life in a godly or divine sense.
Appearance of Elija with Moses: God is a god of order and not chaos. The order of God is rooted in the canon of love. Love for God is possible only when we love others. This love is basically mutual and equal. It's not masquerading love but a love encircled with truth and justice. Thus in our worship we have the Old Testament readings point to the canticles of prophecies (Nabim) and law (Torah). The vision connects us to the true traditions of the prophetic voices of God and the order that serves as the directive for our life. Our worship must empower us to stand against the evil structures that manipulate the traits of life. Worship must help us to become the tools of love to profess the new order that lays the foundation for the transformation of the dying world.
Jesus -Transfigured: They witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. “Trans Experience” is a symbol of connectivity between the mortal and immortal world. It's an attempt to think beyond our physical limits and visibility. Jesus stands as a manifestation of binding two paradoxical paradigms that polarized God and humans. God created everyone in God’s own image and this argument substantiates that every human does possess the divine nature which intersects with the forces of fallacies that sustain the lacuna between God and humans. Human tendencies separate us from our divine qualities because of the superego. Actually the divine qualities are not abstract beliefs and concepts but a praxis oriented construct to establish a sustainable and a celebrating society of God; promising and practicing goodness for all with absolute respect and dignity for all.
Listen to Him: The affirmation of Jesus’s divinity by God is the key in this event. God gives an order, Listen to God. Listening to God or Jesus, is always a blessing. The unlistening community of God has caused numerous damages to human harmony. The hegemonic displays of the dominant forces drowns the Christian mission and identity in pitfalls. The disciples were asked to listen to Jesus to denounce the comfort zones in life when people are suffering. God will be comfortable only when every single member of this community actualizes freedom with equality and justice. It's not only a legal and political freedom but a freedom based on the ethos of God’s reign.
The constitution of God had two articles:
1. Love God
2. Love others like thyself.
One without the other will nullify our partnership with God. Even today Jesus teaches us to build relationships in love. Let us listen to him consistently.