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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Homily 3/16/14 Get your head in the clouds!

Sometimes in life, you need to get your head in the clouds! I know that so often we hear the contrary, (that we need to get our head out of the clouds), but if we do it all the time, we are also really missing something.
This past summer I was able to visit Colorado with my family. I was so glad that many of us were able to climb a high mountain together. It was one of the few times in my life I was that high up, and the view is spectacular, and there was even a couple small lakes up there - things you would never know existed if you didn't get yourself up that high. The other really cool experience I've had with views is flying. Wow. Getting above the clouds is absolutely amazing. Up there, you can really understand what the words dazzling white mean in today's account of the Transfiguration!
Moses and Elijah didn't see or hear God's plan until they journeyed up a mountain.  Abram, who heard God's voice today, sees later in life a foreshadowing of the cross when he takes his son Isaac up the mountain.
The point of all of this is that up high, you see things differently. It's worth it.
In the spiritual sense, all of us need to get our head in the clouds, often!  Every day you should get your head in the clouds.
Today, we get a glimpse of the future, of the goal of our lives, of heaven.  Peter, James, & John are able to see beyond the day-to-day to remember why they are following this teacher who they call "the Messiah" or "Christ."  In fact, just before this passage, they were taught by Jesus that "the Son of Man must be rejected, suffer greatly, and be killed, and then raised on the third day." Peter was not happy to hear this; the disciples must have been shocked, terrified, and dumbfounded that this was what the Messiah thinks His mission to be.  That's why, after stressing the point very clearly that you must take up your cross and follow, Jesus gives them a glimpse of His true Glory which the Father has given Him.  They need to see this in order to withstand the scandal of the Cross (scandal meaning stumbling block).  The Transfiguration is a support.
We need that kind of support and consolation, too.  As long as there is sin in the world, there will be stumbling blocks, things that scandalize our faith.  So we put our heads in the clouds, so to speak, through our daily prayer.  We climb the mountain when we come to this house of prayer and see Calvary presented sacramentally from this altar.  That's whey we remember the Transfiguration here in Lent, so that it's clear we aren't doing all this suffering for nothing: we get our eyes and ears out of the day-to-day for a bit so we can see the big picture!
Just as Jesus shows the disciples where their goal is (the glorified life of heaven), we also must do the same in prayer.  If I do not ever imagine what Saint Father Terry looks like I will never try to become that. If I don't see what my transfigured self could be in Christ, I will have difficulty making steps toward it.

Does the caterpillars lose itself when it becomes a butterfly? No! It is lifted up to a higher level.  But it does sacrifice itself - it has to give everything in order to get it. Does the seed lose itself when it is planted and begins to grow?  Yeah, perhaps kind of... but only to make a reality of what it already contains as a possibility: the full tree that God intended it to be.  In this Eucharist, let us ask our Transfigured and Risen Lord to help us keep our minds fixed on what we were truly made to be, so that we can make the daily steps to get there during this Lent.

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