Jesus Our Shepherd

2nd Sunday of Lent
04 March 2007

Homily
Jean Scanlan

Up on Mount Tabor three very frightened men – Peter, James and John are engulfed in a cloud – Jesus is radiating white light – Moses and Elijah appear in glory. Moses and Elijah converse with Jesus about his approaching departure in Jerusalem. Moses who conversed with God on Mt. Horeb and was given the law – the ten commandments and Elijah who heard the whispering voice of God on the same mountain. Elijah represented the face of all Old Testament prophets. These two holy men represent all that has preceded Jesus in the tradition of God’s chosen people.

As they prepare to leave Peter blurts out that they should make three tents. That is when the cloud “came and overshadowed them”. Scripture tells us that Peter, James and John were terrified. Something was happening that was way beyond their experience. Peter’s suggestion of three tents implied that Moses, Elijah and Jesus were equals. The Voice spoke to them from within the cloud and set them straight. Jesus far surpassed Moses and Elijah. The Voice tells them, “This is my Son! Listen to Him.” In other words: This is He who speaks my words. All that he says is true – all that he does is true. Listen to Him. And they kept silent.

Here is the message for us – to listen and to keep silent. To let the seeds of Jesus’ words be planted in the dark, moist earth of our interior. There we need to do as Mary did in her life – She pondered things in her heart. Often the words of Jesus make no sense to our minds. They must be pondered in the heart. Several weeks ago the gospel began with Jesus saying: “But I say to you that LISTEN, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you…” Our minds reject such words as being impossible. With a careful reading we see that Jesus only addressed these words to “those that listen – those that take His words inside their hearts and silently ponder and pray for the grace to live their lives in such an extraordinary way. The Voice in the cloud says, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” Don’t let his words bounce off of your heart and mind. Dare to take them in. Dare to ponder them. Dare to follow the example of Jesus who on the cross can pray from his heart – “Father, forgive them.”

When we forgive ourselves, our family members and those who walk within the circle of our lives we send out an energy of peace that heals the world.

Lent is a time to listen more deeply. When we practice “deep listening” we, too, will radiate the light of the God who lives within. We, too, will seek to eradicate the injustices that plague our world. Our “listening” will not be static but active and life giving in a way that is unique to the gifts which we have been given.

And the Voice from the cloud of Divine Presence said: “Listen to Him.”