Lent: “Those Who Help Form Us”

“Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” Luke 9

Giovanni_Gerolamo_Savoldo_005Jesus had his. Moses and Elijah. Who are yours standing on your left and right? In glorious splendor, Jesus shows off two of them to his other friends.

But hold it! His glorious “show off” is two dead guys and showing them to his living friends. Isn’t that kinda rude? If I were Peter, I would have said, “Hey, what about me? I’m still here!”

Jesus models for us that the distance is pretty short between living and dead. That separation was made shorter through the giving of his life.

It’s those significant people in our lives that we remember this Second Sunday of Lent. I say significant because it’s not only the ones we love, but it’s also those we tried to like. And, it’s often events and folks who mislead us which makes us more aware of ourselves and those we trust. My high school counselor told me that I shouldn’t go to college because of my grades, but join the Air Force. What if I had listened to him instead of other trusted friends who laughed along with me at that silly prospect. If Jesus were on a talk show today, he’d say about his mom, “She was the strength I needed to proclaim this Kingdom of God.” Of his dad, he’d say, “I admire the quietness of his deliberations, made clearer through his dreams or when more information was gathered.”

There are deceased voices, and there are living bodies who help form the person that each of us became or is becoming. If given ill-advice, it then becomes fodder to rethink or confirm your decision. If it’s a throw-away-nicety, then you consider that as well. I know my tie didn’t match my shirt this morning, but she told me how good I looked. (Nice try.) I hope your deceased mother still talks to you. Her advice remains worthy of your attention, years after her passing. A friend of many years gives you caution about your behavior. You listen to him and learn that it paid off.

Who is beside you on your mountain? Who guides and mentors you either from the grave or the tavern? Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of those two on the mountain who are the fulfillment of those who influenced them. That’s why he appears with the past and shows himself to the future with his friends. Peter needed to be Christ-like as each of us needs to learn and relearn. That’s the closeness between living and deceased.

Who’s alongside you on your mountain? I had all week to think of mine, so please take a moment and let your heart identify who your people are or were. Naming both the good ones, the indifferent ones, and the troubling ones.

(pause)

The best quote from the movie, “Jerry Maguire” is when Tom Cruise says to Renee Zellweger, “You complete me.”

(Since it was also St. Patrick’s Day, an Irish Blessing. However, an Irish Blessing is always preceded with an Irish joke.)

“McQuillan walked into a bar and ordered martini after martini, each time removing the olives and placing them in a jar. When the jar was filled with olives and all the drinks consumed, he started to leave. ‘S’cuse me,’ said a customer, who was puzzled over what McQuillan had done. ‘What was that all about?’ ‘Nothing,’ he replied, ‘Me wife sent me out for a jar of olives.'”

“Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!”

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on Amazon.com.
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