"It is good that we are here!"

Reflection for the Vigil of the Second Sunday in Lent | Sister Linda Herndon, OSB

“It is good that we are here!” We probably have no problem agreeing with Peter, it was good for him and James and John to be with Jesus on that high mountain to witness Jesus’ transfiguration.

Mark tells us that their response after Peter’s initial outburst of delight of being present was one of terror…they simply did not know how to respond to that experience. Whether it was a speechlessness caused by the awesomeness of the seeing Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah alongside him or simply a fear of an experience that had no context for them, we do not know and it really does not make a difference.

What about us? Can we who are here on this Mount tonight say, “It is good that we are here!”? When we look at the reality of our lives and our world, we may find it a challenge to say this for many reasons:

  • Our hearts are still heavy from Lou’s funeral today [one of the youngest members of our community]. 
  • The mild winter, the early spring, the tornados earlier in the week brings home to us and makes us wonder about the implications of global warming and what the future holds for all of us on planet Earth. 
  • The political conditions in our country and all their ramifications may have us feeling concerned and helpless not only for our country and it citizens but for the wider world. 
  • The daily news confronts us with so many senseless acts of violence and hate with many people constantly living in fear and it is all seems too overwhelming. 

And there are many other things that each might add to this list that challenge and concern us as individuals, as a community, as a nation, and beyond.

And what is our response? I don’t recall being in a conversation in the dining room when discussing any of these topics where anyone has said, “It is good that we are here!” I cannot imagine anyone saying, “I like living with this kind of situation/in this kind of world” (my paraphrase of Peter’s “let’s put down tents and stay here awhile!”). The response I have heard has been more typical of Peter, James, and John...a speechlessness...a not knowing what to say...a not knowing how to respond.

Yes, our current reality is totally different than the experience of the transfiguration was for Peter, James, and John. Yet, I believe that God’s response is the same for both. He told them and he tells us, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

And what is the message that the Son has for us? The first reading that we just heard from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, gives us one part of Jesus’ message for us. We are told that even though we are simply clay jars our power comes from God and not from us.

No matter what happens, what affliction or persecution or whatever else, the life of Jesus will always be present with us. Out of the darkness, “God has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God.” Thus we can say with conviction, no matter what the situation, “It is good that we are here!”