Welcome back! It has been a busy summer for me, as it probably has been for all of you. I want to go back to August 6th feast of the Transfiguration for this sharing. (The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is recorded in Matthew 17:1-9.)
The scene is a mountain where Jesus frequently retreated. On this particular occasion the writer tells us that as he prayed Jesus heard the voice of God reminding him, "You are my loved son and I am pleased with you." (Put yourself there and allow God to say that to you -- son or daughter of God.)
I (and Sisters Bernice Rieland, Joanne Heim and Jeanne Schwieters - not pictured) were privileged to make a retreat in July with Jesuit priest, John Dear. This scripture which describes God's confirmation of Jesus' identity is one that John treasures. One of many books John has authored is titled Transfiguration. Early in his life, John Dear came to realize on a gut level that Jesus is his brother. He says a conscious awareness of this relationship fuels the demand that he give his life for peace and justice.
Awareness of his identity also demanded that Jesus choose to walk through the suffering he knew fidelity as a son of God required of him. One of the demands of this retreat was that we reclaim our own identity as intimately related to God, and thus to each other. Allowing ourselves to be conscious of this, we, too, will be compelled to make choices only for the common good no matter what the personal cost to us.
Father John Dear is a peace activist from the marrow in his bones. His faith that Jesus is his brother demands that he protest war no matter what ridicule and imprisonment his non-violent demonstrations against war, especially nuclear weapons, bring to him. On this day when we again contemplate the meaning of Jesus' Transfiguration, I pray for faith to know who I am and to live my live from that core identity.