“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” (Mark 9:7)
A couple of weeks ago I was in my room working on my computer with the Grammy Awards playing in the background. Every now and then I would glance up from my computer screen to see a tired “musical act” trying to sing with all of these pyrotechnics and elaborate and moving sets going on around them as if to say that they’re voice weren’t enough. I ignored the performances and continued with my work. Then all of the sudden, a girl started singing. She had no elaborate sets, no dancing troupe. Just a microphone, a piano, and a few backup singers. I looked up and saw Adele totally own the stage as she always does. I remember in the VMA’s last summer, where even more crazy things happen during performances, when Adele just simply walked out, sang “Someone Like You,” and in the process threw her very heart on stage and showed all the other “musicians” in the room how to perform. She’s one of those rare artists that when she opens her mouth to sing, you listen! You pay attention to every lyric because there is pain there, there is a sense of love lost, and a sense of hope and longing of what love can be.
This is the love that we need to embrace when it comes to our relationship with Christ. In today’s gospel of the Transfiguration, this great event ends with the disciples hearing the Father tell them: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Here they were up on that mountain witnessing something extraordinary happening to the Master. He was transfigured before them. If they hadn’t been paying attention to him before, they were definitely going to start listening now even if they didn’t totally understand what was going on. This is when they started to discover who Jesus truly is. They finally see his glorious nature.
Yesterday, our Confirmation kids during their retreat had a transfiguration-like encounter with our Lord. Many of them had never experienced Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, but yet they embraced this new encounter with the Lord. Throughout the day, we had been telling them: “It’s not what you know, but who you know!” This means that they could probably rattle off everything they’ve learned about Jesus in their religion class, but do they really know this Jesus? Do they have a real relationship with him? Do they love him as they love their parents or their friends? Lent is a time to examine our relationship with Jesus because more often than not, we keep Jesus tucked away in a corner and only call upon him in an hour of need. Our Lord loves us so much that he does not mind, but is this a way to treat a friend much less our Lord and Savior? The Transfiguration reminds us of the glory that is to come and of the importance of taking Jesus out of the back seat of our life and having him ride shotgun with us so that we can listen to him! When we establish this new personal relationship with our Lord, our lives change as they did for those young people last night who did not want to leave the church once the retreat was over. They had become the disciples on that mountain that were so caught up in what was happening, and just as they started to comprehend all of the glorious signs that they were seeing...it was over. It was time to descend the mountain and make sense of all of this. This is the challenge that all of our young people who encounter Christ face every day of their lives. They are persecuted, insulted, and alienated by their beliefs. And yet, many don’t shy away. Many of them were kids who had received this retreat years earlier came back to witness to how this Jesus had changed their lives. They know that even if they “break-up” with the Lord over and over again, the only viable option that will lead them to joy and happiness is to listen to the Master. He truly is that “someone” that will never break our hearts, that will never let us down, and that will be there always to rescue us even when we choose not to listen to him.
Epilogue: The retreat finished very late, and around 10pm I walked into the parish hall to find the teen leaders tearing down all the decorations. As I walked down the hall, I could here the piano on the back wall being played. I recognized the song but wasn’t sure. As I walked closer, I saw one of our teenage girls playing and singing Adele’s “Somebody Like You” flawlessly. Even after the long day, with an incredible joy and passion in her heart, she belted out that tune as if she was standing on the Grammy stage herself. She wasn’t tired or exhausted. She wasn’t anxious to bolt out of there to do what other teenagers do on a Saturday night. She and the kids around her where still on the spiritual high from that day. This week, rediscover the beauty of the Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Spend some time in adoration like our young people did this weekend, and imagine, just imagine what the love of Christ could do for you.