Saturday, February 20, 2016

Listening only to Jesus

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
February 21, 2016

Luke 9:28-36

The scene is traditionally known as "the Transfiguration of Jesus." It's not possible to reconstruct with certainty the experience that gave birth to this astonishing story; we only know that the evangelists give it great importance, since, according to their tale, it's an experience that hints at part of Jesus' true identity.

At first, the story highlights the transformation of his face and, though Moses and Elijah come to talk with him -- perhaps as representatives of the law and the prophets respectively -- only the face of Jesus remains transfigured and glowing in the center of the scene.

Apparently, the disciples don't grasp the deep essence of what they are experiencing since Peter says to Jesus, "Master, how good it is here. We will make three tents -- one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He puts Jesus on the same plane and at the same level as the two major biblical characters. To each his tent. Jesus still doesn't occupy a central and absolute place in his heart.

God's voice will correct him, revealing the true identity of Jesus: "This is my Son, the Chosen One," the one who has the transfigured face. It should not be confused with those of Moses and Elijah, that are dimmed. "Listen to him." To no one else. His Word is the only decisive one. The other ones must lead us to him.

It is urgent to recover in the Church today the decisive importance that the experience of listening within the Christian communities to the story of Jesus recorded in the Gospels had in the beginning. These four writings are, for Christians, a unique work that we mustn't equate with the rest of the biblical books.

There is something that we can only find in them: Jesus' impact on the first ones who were drawn to him and followed him. The gospels aren't didactic books that lay out academic doctrine about Jesus. Nor are they biographies written to provide details about his historical background. They are "stories of conversion" that invite us to change, to following Jesus and to identification with his plan.

So they ask to be heard in a spirit of conversion. And in that attitude, they must be read, preached, thought through and kept in the heart of every believer and every community. A Christian community that knows how to listen every Sunday to the Gospel story of Jesus in a spirit of conversion, begins to change. The Church has no more vigorous potential for renewal than what is enclosed in those four small books.

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