The transfiguration. What an overwhelming, amazing, frightening and confusing experience it must have been. And who wouldn’t be frightened if a voice from the cloud acknowledged Jesus as his beloved?
I would have hit the ground like the three apostles.
Peter, in his “speak-before-you-think” sort of way, wants to memorialize it. Jesus, on the other hand, wants him to keep it quiet for awhile. What is consoling and challenging in this scripture passage is Jesus’ touch and words “rise and do not be afraid.” Rise: stand tall, be present, show up, be engaged. Let go of your fear.
Way too often I let things—those inordinate attachments—get in the way of rising up and speaking out.
It might be my fear of being the lone voice that holds me back. It may be my fear of shaking up the status quo to the point that it calls into question my own complicity in institutional racism, sexism, or other unjust systems that holds me back.
Nonetheless God calls me as God called Abram to “Go forth… to a land that I will show you.” I take courage that God not only calls me, but God will bring about great things: “I will make of you a great nation.” God will provide as I rise up and let go of my fears, for God calls us to a holy life “not by our work but by God’s own design.”
Today, let’s rise, let go of fear, and engage face-to-face with someone living on the margins—be it the woman or man experiencing homelessness, the addict who now lives in isolation, or the immigrant without papers who now lives in fear.
Tom Drexler is the Executive Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a ministry of the Midwest Jesuit Province providing Ignatian retreats to women and men who are experiencing homelessness and in recovery from addiction.