Finding Hope When Life Hurts Week 2: Pivotal Moment

(February 25, 2018)

Bottom line: No matter what pivotal moment comes our way; our response determines whether it will make us or break us.

In Finding Hope When Life Hurts Fr. Sica reflects on life's pivotal moments: "A promotion, a wedding, the start of a family - how exciting! An accident, a terminal illness, the news that someone we love is dying - how terrible! It's the latter type of news that throws us for a loop. We go through the motions, haunted by events, our lives forever altered."

Today's Gospel recounts a pivotal moment: the Transfiguration of Jesus. Peter says, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here!" It is also a moment of awe, even terror. "They were terrified," says the Gospel.

Brant Pitre analyzes the Transfiguration in The Case for Jesus. Dr. Pitre asks, "Why do Moses and Elijah appear on the mountain with Jesus?" For sure Moses represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets. But there's more: Although Moses and Elijah both had visions of God neither saw God face to face. In the Transfiguration they are finally allowed to see what they could not see during their earthly life - the unveiled face of God." Light shines from within Jesus; he himself is light from light.

After giving a detailed description of the Transfiguration, Dr. Pitre asks why Jesus tells his disciples not to speak about what happened. Why the secrecy? Well, The Case for Jesus devotes a full chapter to the secret of Jesus' divinity.

I want, however, to address a prior issue, something that many wonder about - namely, the reliability of the Gospels. Some say that because the Gospels were transmitted orally before being written down they contain distortions as happens in the Telephone Game. You've probably played the Telephone Game: you form a circle with a dozen people and the first person whispers a phrase to next person. Maybe "red chicken." By the end the message has completely changed, "pink pumpkin." As the Case for Jesus points out, "the Telephone game 'works' precisely because it is a trivial parlor game and absolutely no one involved cares a whit about the content of the message that he is communicating. As a counterexample, consider the manner in which news of the Kennedy assassination spread from person to person, to all corners of the world. To be sure small distortions and exaggerations occurred along the way, but did anyone anywhere miss the message that the president of the United States, John Kennedy, was shot to death in Dallas on November 22, 1963?

Dr. Brant Pitre shows how the "Telephone game" comparison might sound convincing but when you analyze the actual way the Gospels were transmitted, it doesn't hold up. I encourage you to read The Case for Jesus and to offer it to a family member who has questions, for example about the "Lost Gospels" or about whether Jesus claimed be divine.

Ultimately of course we're talking about an act of confidence in a person, to be able to say, "Jesus, I trust in you." This brings us back to those pivotal moments - some are wonderful, some are devastating. For us February 4, 11:04 am, was a pivotal moment as Sister Barbara passed from this life surrounded by parishioners singing "Amazing Grace."

Regarding pivotal moments Fr. Sica says: "I've learned it doesn't matter what pivotal moment comes our way; our response determines whether it will make us or break us. Since everything is in turmoil, it's necessary to take baby steps. You need to wrap your head around it and ask. 'What just happened?' Then go to God. Have a heart-to-heart with him. Share your feelings, ask him for guidance and listen as he responds."

As our Psalm says, "I believe even when I said, 'I am greatly afflicted.' I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living." Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Year B homilies for 2nd Sunday of Lent):

2015: Best Lent Ever Week 2: Create Life-Giving Habits
2012: Two Steps to Glory
2009: A Glimpse of the Mystery
2006: Trust
2003: Exposing a Modern Myth
2000: A Million Dollars for Your TV

Homilies for Second Sunday of Lent ("Transfiguration Sunday")

2017: Best Lent Ever Week 2: Create Life-Giving Habits
2016: First Things: Children
2015: New Mind and Heart Week 2
2014: Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 2
2013: Home of the Homesick
2012: Two Steps to Glory
2011: Sons of Abraham
2010: Freedom from False Gods
2009: A Glimpse of the Mystery
2008: Visit of Fr. Peter West
2007: Chosen
2006: Trust
2005: A Confrontation with Evil
2004: They Spoke of His Exodus
2003: Exposing a Modern Myth
2002: The Boston Scandal: A Lenten Reflection
2001: Voice from the Earthquake
2000: A Million Dollars for Your TV
1999: God or Gods of Culture?
1998: Enemies of the Cross

Homily for Transfiguration 2006: The Son of Man
..........2000: What Lies Beneath

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

From Archives (Ash Wednesday Homilies):

Best Lent Ever: Even Now
First Things
New Mind and Heart
Go to Your Inner Room
Return to Me
The Purpose of Lent
Two Cheers for Catholic Guilt
Don't Waste This Crisis
When You Give Alms
Back to the Basics
Dealing With Guilt
Exercise of Holy Desire

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

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