Genesis 12:1-4a + Psalm 33 + 2 Timothy 1:8b-10 + Matthew 17:1-9
7 March 2020
San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte, FL Opening of Lenten Mission
This weekend opens a Parish Mission at San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte
A lot of things happen on hills and mountains in the Gospels. We went up a mountain last week as Satan led Jesus to the high place. This week Jesus leads Peter, James and John up the same way. When Satan leads it is all about this world, it’s kingdoms and its glory. When Jesus leads it is not about this world, its power and its glory. It is about a vision of the kingdom to come after Jesus climbs another mountain. Those apostles will need to keep this vision when Jesus next climbs up a hill to die. These high places are for many peoples and cultures a place close to God, a meeting place. Think of Moses and remember what happened to him as his face became so bright that he had to wear a veil after meeting God there. Matthew surely did as he provides details intended to lead us to connect Moses with Jesus, the giver of the new law. And there is Elijah, the prophet of hope, who encountered God on a mountain as well.
All of this connects Jesus to the past, but Matthew would also have us connect Jesus to the future, the glory of the resurrection. When we get to Easter Sunday, Matthew will once again describe Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene with clothes that are white as snow. Listen for that, and remember.
Abraham leads us deeper and further into this season when we set aside things that distract us from what is to come. Abraham receives a divine call, and he abandons everything that keeps him from God, heading into the unknown, guided only by the God he has been searching for. My friends, this season is our time to assess everything that might be keeping us from God, keeping us from heading into the unknown, and everything we have tried as a substitute for the God of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. In this place, in this church, we are again on a mountain, close to God. In this place, through the Sacrament we share, the vision of the Kingdom comes to us again as we look upon those around us. On this mountain we are nourished, strengthened and prepared for what is to come so that the disappointments, tragedies, and even the deaths we experience will not and cannot keep us from the Easter that awaits us all.
Like the apostles, we will come down, and all around us will be the suffering, the sick, the hungry and lonely. If we have seen the Lord in this place, and if we have listened to the Lord in this place, those who wait and long for the comfort only God can give will find it in us.