Monday, March 5, 2007

Why do we try to freeze a moment in time?

Second Sunday of Lent 2007
Mass Readings
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 9:28-36

Jesus is preparing for the terrifying sacrifice he is to make in order for us to be saved. He is seeking strength from the Father and he withdraws to the mountain to pray. Jesus needs support and he takes three of his disciples with him to be companions. Jesus places himself in the Father's presence and the disciples, well, they decide to take a nap.

Jesus is alone. Jesus is again facing the reality of the torture that he is to endure. Then a miraculous gift is given by the Father. Moses and Elijah are sent to minister to Jesus. Moses, The Law, and Elijah, The Prophets, come to Jesus' aid to support him and encourage him. Meanwhile, the disciples are napping. Eventually they wake up and you can almost picture them tripping and climbing over each other trying to get to Jesus! A miracle is happening right before their eyes and they recognize Moses and Elijah! They want to be a part of it too! As Moses and Elijah return to the Father, Peter, as usual, speaks first. Lord! This is amazing! Let me and the other two build a place for each of you to live here on the mountain! You can all stay here forever and we can worship you! Peter wants to freeze this moment in time. Peter wants to keep the "mountaintop experience" alive, the spiritual high.

Some are gifted by God during life to have a monumental spiritual experience. For some, the "booming voice" or the apparition happens and they are transformed. These individuals then go forth and proclaim the good news of Salvation. People take notice of them. However, given the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of millions of Christians have come and gone and we have in comparison a very small number of Saints, odds are most of us will not have an experience that shakes the world. Most of us will live in the ordinariness of life. That can be frightening to a people that is taught that the miraculous is the supreme sign of having a strong faith. Perhaps we need to rethink things.

I heard the story of a young man a while back who went to his priest and described how he had travelled the globe and prayed at numerous sights where our Blessed Mother has appeared. His passport must have been heavily marked. He had prayed at some of our faith's most holy places, yet he was sad. He had not heard a voice from Heaven, the Blessed Mother had not appeared to him and given him a mission. He was doubting his faith because he had not had a "mountaintop experience". The ordinariness of his daily life was unbearable for him. In his quest for the public miracle, he had missed the glories of the everyday miracles that happen all around him. He wanted to find his "miracle" and freeze that moment so he could bask in it forever.

We can expend great amounts of time and energy and even money trying to find our "mountaintop experience" yet find ourselves more empty than when we started. We can strive to hear a booming voice from Heaven yet miss the quiet, still voice of God that speaks to us continually. We can seek to freeze a moment in time, a "spiritual high" and miss the joy and happiness that God gives freely and continually. If God is going to speak with a booming voice from the clouds, He will do it. If our Blessed Mother is going to appear to someone, she will. We cannot force a spiritual experience. We experience God by being willing, open, honest, and faithful.

Let us not get lost in trying to freeze a moment in time so as to forget to live. God is with us, around us, and in us each and every moment. We can experience God in the ordinary, the every day, and be happy! It is being able to experience God in the ordinary that we discover that we have been on top of the mountain all along.