LISTEN JUST TO JESUS
The scene is traditionally considered as «Jesus’ transfiguration». It’s not possible to reconstruct with certainty the experience that gave origin to this surprising story: we only know that the Gospel writers give it great importance, since as it is told, it is an experience that gives some glimpse of Jesus’ true identity.
At the beginning, the story notes the transformation of his face, and though Moses and Elijah come to speak with him –representatives possibly of the law and prophets respectively– only Jesus’ face remains transfigured and shining at the center of the scene.
It seems that the disciples haven’t caught on to the profound content of what’s going on around them, since Peter says to Jesus: «Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah». He puts Jesus on the same plane and at the same level as the two great biblical figures. Each one has his shelter. Jesus doesn’t yet occupy a central and absolute place in his heart.
God’s voice will correct him, revealing Jesus’ true identity: «This is my Son, the Chosen One», the one who has his face transfigured. He mustn’t be confused with Moses or Elijah, whose faces are darkened. «Listen to him». To no one else. His Word is the only decisive one. The rest should take us to him.
It’s is urgent to recover in today’s Church the decisive importance held by listening to this story about Jesus as told in the Gospels in the bosom of the Christian communities from the beginning. These four writings constitute for Christians a unique work that we mustn’t equate with the rest of the biblical writings.
There’s something that we can only encounter in them: the impact caused by Jesus on the first ones who felt themselves drawn by him and following him. The Gospels aren’t teaching books that set out academic doctrines about Jesus. Nor are they biographies redacted to give detailed information about his historical trajectory. They are «stories of conversion» that call for a change, for a following of Jesus and for an identification with his project.
That’s why they ask to be listened to with an attitude of conversion. And it’s in that attitude that they should be read, preached, meditated on and kept in the heart of each believer and in every community. A Christian community that knows how to listen each Sunday to the Gospel story about Jesus in an attitude of conversion –that community begins to change. The Church doesn’t have any power more vigorous for renovation than that contained in these four small books.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf