On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus. Their presence harkened back to the final text of the Old Testament, in which Malachi invites the faithful to remember the covenant made with Moses, and the to look forward to the return of Elijah. The Transfiguration solidifies what the disciples were longing for, the promise of the prophets made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, come to liberate them from the fear of death and the hatred of oppression.
This is a different season for us all. We will be faced with a new normal for the coming weeks, perhaps months. And yet, even as we socially distance ourselves, as a people of faith, we have a witness of faith in Jesus Christ that teaches us to ensure we are no isolating ourselves from the needs of the community. In the feeding of the multitudes, Jesus teaches us that what we have to offer is sufficient, and that with our provisions, God will care for us all.
Before he performs the miracle of calming the storm, Jesus rebukes the disciples for their fear and their lack of faith. We tend to skip over the rebuke so that we might marvel at the miracle. But skipping the rebuke is just our way to try and tame the story. Jesus isn’t a circus act to be observed, he’s the manifestation of God’s love in flesh, whose faith is a model for faithful discipleship.
The parables weren’t offered to make us feel good about our discipleship. They are intentionally provoking, and challenge us to a greater faithfulness. The Pearl of Great Price should not be understood as a self-centered congratulatory allegory, but a hard challenge to deeper discipleship.
The power of God is not offered for our tribe, our kingdom, or our gain. Christ’s ascension is just another necessary action of God in critique of the self-motivation of disciples. Christ once more calls us to be prepared for the Spirit to lead us in dispersing power as we share God’s love with all persons, even to the ends of the earth.
For St. Francis of Assisi, the way of poverty wasn’t about living with nothing, it was about living without any allegiance due to money. It was about serving God, only.
To be faithful to our call as a church community, it takes being engaged disciples. You don’t have to be perfect, highly educated, wealthy, or beautiful – you just have to be willing to respond, knowing Christ goes with you.
The new testament makes it clear, Jesus really is a home wrecker. But perhaps not in the way we’d imagine.
The disciples were losing hope of Jesus’ future after a successful start to the week, which began with shouts of Hosanna! But in the breaking and pouring of a jar of alabaster over the head of Christ, the week begins to shift.