When I was young boy one of the lessons I learned from my elders is to hear and to listen. Every time I fail to listen they would ask me, “Didn’t you listen to what I told you? Alan, remember this: always pay attention to what we are saying.” Now it’s my turn to remind my people to listen to what I’m saying. I also tell them that whenever our superiors ask us something, we sort of “drop” (figuratively) what we are doing and do what has been requested of us. What our superiors ask us to do is important, so it makes sense to re-arrange priorities and do it.
In the Gospel (Lk. 9: 28b-36), “Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray…” While he was praying, the Transfiguration happened: His face changed in appearance and His clothing became dazzling white. Two men (prophets actually) were conversing with Him, Moses and Elijah. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. He suggested to the Lord for them to make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.”
I could imagine the way the voice of God the Father echoed and reverberated in the mountains that day. Forceful and directing to the Apostles and to us today, “This is my chosen Son, listen to Him.” We have been “ordered” by the Creator to listen, and not to ignore. In living as an “ordinary” human in those times, Jesus healed the sick from various illnesses, drove off evil spirits and performed other miracles. Most of them were looking at the Messiah as one who will come in majesty and splendor. They wanted Him to be coming to liberate them from oppression in the literal sense of the word. But it’s not meant by the Father to be that way. As it was before, so it is now: He speaks to us in ways that our human eyes can’t see.
I know this because when we become mindful of what’s happening around us, we can actually feel the hand and movements of God. Sometimes the events that are happening are telling us things that we only have to be thankful for the lessons and grateful for the insights these bring to us. At times, He speaks through ordinary people that we encounter: the security guard at the mall, the cleaner at the yard, or the attendant at the gas station.
A few months back I watched Noah in Netflix, the adaptation of the biblical story. Many were disappointed that it veered away from the biblical version but what struck me the most in the movie was how the Creator gave instructions to Noah. To avoid being anticlimactic to those who haven’t seen it yet, suffice it to say that the way the Creator gave the instructions was different from how it was described in the Holy Book such that if Noah wasn’t spiritual he wouldn’t have recognized God’s message to him. It’s the same with us, God wouldn’t appear to us just like how He did to His chosen ones, but if we are to read, see and listen to Him, we have to build on the faith that we have. He speaks in ordinary ways but which aren’t obvious to those who are blind to the ways of faith. God wants us to gaze deeply despite the seeming “ordinariness” of each day. Each person we meet and each event that happens should enable us to see the hand of God. It shouldn’t matter to the faithful if that event is something positive, as it could also be negative. In the low moments of life, as faithful followers of Christ, we have to rise above the challenges and work with faith in addressing these. We do what we can, and trust that the Lord will bless our efforts with Divine approval and success.
As we observe this Second Sunday of Lent, let us work on improving how we walk our faith. Do you listen to what God is saying in the “ordinariness” of each passing day? Are you patient and persevering despite challenges coming your way? Rise above these concerns, because the Lord is with you all the way. Have faith!