Thursday, March 13, 2014

Listening to Jesus

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
March 16, 2014

Matthew 17:1-9

The center of this complex story, traditionally called "The Transfiguration of Jesus", is a Voice that comes from a strange "bright cloud", a symbol used in the Bible to speak of the always mysterious presence of God who reveals Himself to us and, at the same time, is hidden from us. The Voice says these words: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." The disciples are not to confuse Jesus with anybody, not even with Moses or Elijah, representatives and witnesses of the Old Testament. Only Jesus is the beloved Son of God, the one whose face "shines like the sun."

But the Voice adds something else: "Listen to him." In former times, God revealed His will through the "Ten Commandments" of the Law. Now God's will is summarized and embodied in a single command: Listen to Jesus. Listening establishes the true relationship between Jesus and his followers.

On hearing this, the disciples fall to the ground "filled with fear". They're overwhelmed by that experience so close to God, but they're also frightened by what they have heard. Will they be able to listen only to Jesus, recognizing only in him the mysterious presence of God?

Then Jesus "came near and touched them, saying, 'Rise, and do not be afraid.'" He knows they need to experience his human closeness -- the touch of his hand, not just the divine radiance of his face. Whenever we listen to Jesus in the silence of our being, his first words to us are, "Rise, and do not be afraid."

Many people only know Jesus through hearsay. His name is familiar to them, perhaps, but what they know about him doesn't go beyond some childhood memories and impressions. Even though they call themselves Christians, they live without hearing Jesus within them. And without that experience, it's not possible to know his unmistakable peace or his strength that lifts and sustains our lives.

When a believer stops to listen in silence to Jesus within his conscience, he always hears something like this: "Do not be afraid. Quite simply abandon yourself in the mystery of God. Your little faith is enough. Don't worry. If you listen to me, you'll discover that God's love is in always forgiving you. And if you believe this, your life will change. You will know peace of heart."

In the Book of Revelation, it is written: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house." Jesus knocks at the door of Christians and non-Christians. We can open the door to him or we can reject him. But living with Jesus is not the same as living without him.

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