Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 17:1-8’

Psalm 125:2: Re-Creation – Mountains and Hills

Easter Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Throughout sacred scripture we see the importance of high places in our human search for connection and intimacy with God.

I look to the mountains;
    where will my help come from? (Psalm 121:1)

The eternal human cry for help is as old as the mountains themselves.

So my sheep wandered over the high hills and the mountains. They were scattered over the face of the earth, and no one looked for them or tried to find them. (Ezekiel 34:6)

God sees the abandoned flock and gathers his sheep when their leaders take them astray.

How wonderful it is to see
    a messenger coming across the mountains,
    bringing good news, the news of peace!
He announces victory and says to Zion,
    “Your God is king!” (Isaiah 52:7)

Still, our human eyes remain on the mountain tops, awaiting the messenger we are promised.

Six days later Jesus took with him Peter and the brothers James and John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. (Matthew 17:1-8)

Jesus himself climbs to a high place when he visits with Moses and Elijah as a precursor to his own exodus. He takes with him, Peter, James and John to witness his Transfiguration.

They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” (Mark 15:22)

As Jesus himself climbs a hill outside Jerusalem to surrender himself to crucifixion, he carries the weight of our fears and anxieties with him.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds God’s people,
    now and forever. (Psalm 125:2)

Just as Jerusalem rests in the circle of God’s mountains, so do we humans rest in the eternal refuge of God’s enormous and endless arms.


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Second Sunday of Lent, February 24, 2013 – Sirach 8 & 9 – Part II

The Measure of Friends

af-grain-pouring-mali[1]Today’s Gospel is Luke’s description of the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28b-36) and each time we come across these verses we are given the opportunity to again think about the concept of friendship: what it means to us, how we live out friendship with others, and what qualities we hope to find in friends.  So often in the New Testament stories we watch Jesus interact with those closest to him and we always find Jesus giving more than words or gestures to his friends; he brings more than The Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). He brings himself; he gives his full and total self.  And the marvel of Jesus is that he continues to be present to each of us today . . . even when we do not number him as one of our friends.  In his love for us, Jesus reminds us of the important of giving even when we anticipate receiving nothing in return for the measure with which we measure will be measured out to us.  (Luke 6:38, Mark 4:24, Matthew 7:2).  Jesus spares nothing in his great love for his friends.  We must spare nothing as well.  Sirach has words that help us to nurture friendship, and to gain the wisdom that helps us to be a good friend to others.

Sirach cautions us to stay away from the powerful.

Know that you are stepping among snares and walking over a net.

Sirach tells us that we ought not to worry about a “sinner’s fame” or a “proud man’s success”.

You know not what disaster awaits him . . . he will not reach death unpunished.

Sirach suggests that we measure our neighbors in order to associate with the wise and learned.

Let your conversations be about the law of the Lord.

Sirach reminds us of the intimacy of a shared meal.

Have the just for your table companions.

Sirach says to us what we know to be true about new friendship.

A new friend is like new wine which you drink with pleasure only when it has aged.

And Sirach tells us that time and patience are important between friends if the relationship is to have value.

Discard not an old friend, for the new one cannot equal him.

When we feel ourselves caught by the allure of control, when we feel trapped by the deception of an associate, when we realize that a colleague has been manipulative . . . we know that it is time to take measure.  Not of the other, but of ourselves.  Are we willing to witness to truth?  Are we willing to break silence about a long-held lie?  Where do we find comfort . . . in the solace of associates who stroke my wounded self . . . or in the integrity of a relationship where we are lovingly corrected?  And in turn, are we willing to become a wounded healer?  Are we willing to be a true friend?

Tomorrow, a prayer for Friends and Friendship.

The other Transfiguration stories appear in Matthew 17:1-8 and Mark 9:2-8.

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