Today’s Gospel relates the story of Christ’s transfiguration in the presence of three of His disciples. During this fantastic episode three apostles – Peter, John, and James – not only see God’s glory emanating from within Jesus, but they hear the voice of His Father saying, “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.”
In Matthew, 3:17, we read that God’s voice was heard with a similar proclamation: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” I actually wrote a short story inspired by that glorious remark from our Creator. And in that story, these words that were spoken about Jesus the Son of God inspired a sculptor to carve a beautiful dove in flight as a gift for his own newborn son. I’ll have to share that story one day, but it makes me happy that these same words have inspired me and so, I believe, they inspired many throughout the ages, including those 3 apostles who were present on the mountain top with Jesus. Or John the Baptist as he stood waist deep in the river Jordan after dutifully baptizing Jesus.
So I am reminded today that I must listen. And listening means that I am not speaking or thinking of what I’d like to say next, or doing anything else. In short, listening connotes being still. Oh, how often that Divine prescription comes to my mind, heart, and soul. “Be still.” (Psalm 46:10) It’s a constant struggle for me. Maybe for you, too? But we can’t really hear all that God wants to tell us if we aren’t paying attention. If we aren’t aware that He is speaking to us and has something He wants us to know.
It will never be something trivial; it will always be something profound, life-giving, and something that makes our trials easier to bear. It will inevitably bring us joy. So, who am I that the Lord should want to speak to me? The Lord of all creation wants my, wants your, undivided attention. If God had to tell the 3 apostles to listen to Jesus after what they’d just seen, well, I feel just a little better about my having to be constantly reminded.
So, I will listen and I will then do the will of my Father. That’s what Jesus wants of us. That’s what God desires. And we will do the listening and embark on our mission for the day, the hour, our life, out of our love for Him which comes only because He loved us first. As more than one wise person has said, and it’s true, God doesn’t need us, but He wants us. He wants us to be in communion with the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While that means being with Him, following Him, being accompanied by Him, sometimes that means listening and ultimately obeying.
Why would we listen to Jesus? Because He is God’s Son, the second Person of the Trinity. And He died to redeem us. That’s something else God didn’t need. But we needed it very badly.