Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
February 18th, 2012

Tom Bannantine, S.J.

School of Nursing
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Saturday in Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
[340] James 3:1-10
Psalm 12:2-3, 4-5, 7-8
Mark 9:2-13


In the classroom teachers often exhort their students to pay attention.  The students hear the words of their lesson, but  
they don't always pay careful attention to the teacher and to the meaning of the words.  And so they can fail to learn the lesson that is being taught.  In today's gospel reading St. Mark quotes the words of God the Father.  God exhorts Peter, James and John to listen to the words of Jesus.  He does not say  they should merely hear the words, but rather calls on the apostles to listen to the words of Jesus.  He wants them to pay careful attention to the words and to ponder their meaning.  The words of Jesus convey a very important lesson and God wants the apostles to learn that lesson and teach it to others.  The apostles were to provide the foundation for Christ's Church here on earth.  So it was very important that these apostles listen very carefully to the words of Jesus.   

I have often wondered how Jesus chose Peter, James and John to be witness to the special events of his life here on earth.  In addition to witnessing the transfiguration they were also with Jesus during his agony in the garden.  Presumably Jesus saw something in these three apostles that somehow set them apart from the other nine.  They were privileged to be present at these special events. On this occasion they were able to hear the words of God the Father, and to glimpse
something of the divinity of Jesus.  Truly this was a very special privilege for Peter, James and John.

The transfiguration is a very mysterious event.  It was reserved for these three alone to witness, and they had to keep it a secret until after the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Had they spoken immediately after they came down from the mountain, others might have been unable to understand what the apostles had seen and heard.  Only later, when Jesus had completed his instructions and teaching to the apostles, would they have been able to understand what their brethren had witnessed, a very important and mysterious event.

I think the message of this gospel reading for us today is to take the words of God the Father from the Transfiguration as addressed to ourselves.  Just as he called the apostles long ago, God is calling us today to listen to the words of Jesus.  He is asking us not merely to hear the words of Jesus, but to really and truly listen to them.  God wants us to listen very carefully to the words of Jesus that we hear in sacred scripture and in the teachings of the Church.  He is calling us to imitate the apostles in our devotion to the following of Jesus. 
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