What a powerful message the story of the transfiguration is about our belief in Jesus Christ. He is human, walking up the mountain and talking with his disciples. Then, all of a sudden, he begins beaming light and Moses and Elijah appear. The disciples are given a glimpse of Christ’s divine nature, and the Father instructs them to “listen to him.” Note that God didn’t say “honor him” or “worship him,” but “listen to him.”
What does it mean for us to recognize Christ’s humanity and divinity? What does it mean to “listen to him” today? For me, this includes listening to Christ’s call to recognize him in human beings, especially those in greatest need. It means transforming lives to build a world of justice and peace.
At Jesuit Refugee Service, I have many opportunities to affirm my belief in the divine and human Christ as I recognize him in the people we serve all over the world. A few years ago, I visited JRS projects in Greece, an entry point for refugees and asylum seekers into Europe. We visited an old warehouse where rooms had been propped up to create temporary shelters. It was heartbreaking to see the circumstances in which families were living, and in the absence of formal programs, we brought out paper and colored pencils. In minutes, children who had experienced the trauma of forced displacement were transformed into happy, laughing children. They colored and drew pictures, they engaged their dads who started a paper airplane competition, and, for at least a short time, we were all transformed as brothers and sisters.
The story of the transfiguration is a challenge to each of us to recognize Christ in our brothers and sisters, listen to his teaching, and help transform a world in need of his love. How does this happen in your life?
Joan Rosenhauer is the executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service USA. She serves on the global JRS leadership team, and leads JRS’s efforts to provide pastoral support for people of all faiths in five U.S. detention centers and to mobilize U.S. support for people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes.
Joan Rosenhauer es la directora ejecutiva del Servicio Jesuita de Refugiados (JRS) en los Estados Unidos. Ella lidera los esfuerzos de JRS para dar ayuda pastoral a las personas de toda tradición religiosa en 5 centros de detención en los Estados Unidos, y movilizar la ayuda de los Estados Unidos a personas de todo el mundo que han debido huir de sus hogares.