We don’t just take the word of anyone, much less accept it. But if it’s someone who speaks with authority, people listen (Mark 1:22-27). Today’s Gospel passage portrays a Voice coming from heaven, from Him Who has supreme authority.
Twice in the first Reading, God and His messenger called to Abraham; twice he replied, Here I am! Our father in faith shows us how our response should be to God’s call – immediate, ready and unquestioning. We often do not, cannot act this way because of fear. We think, will a great sacrifice be asked of me? What might I lose that’s dear to me? We become calculating. What will be my reward; what can I expect in return?
To cast our lot with the Lord, we are daunted by human reaction, by rejection and even violence. But even without asking, we can trust in God’s justice. To Abraham’s faithfulness, He promised: “Because you obeyed my command… I will bless you abundantly.” (Genesis 22:17) And God’s loving mercy is beyond our understanding. Having spared Abraham’s son as sacrificial offering, He did not spare His only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, as the one acceptable propitiation for our sins.
O Lord I am Your servant. In the face of affliction and contradictions, we can remain resolute in our faith, persevering in obedience. “I will pay my vows to the Lord; I will offer a sacrifice of praise and call on His Name.” (Psalms 116: 17-18)
Listening to the Lord opens our eyes and our lives to such depths of His merciful love, that we can’t help but be assured of His tender care and protection. “If God is for us, who can be against us? If God acquits us, who will condemn? He handed His Son over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with Him? It is Christ Jesus who sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.” (Roman 8: 31-34) Our worship becomes purer, our tasks in ministry and mission become easier and more joyful.
Finally, God does not merely react, dispensing reward for faithfulness and punishment for evil deeds. Indeed, He loves us first and always, anticipating our needs, knowing when trials threaten to overwhelm us. This is the lesson in the Gospel account of Christ’s Transfiguration. Knowing that the disciples’ faith was being shaken by His impending Passion and Death, Jesus allowed them to experience an exhilarating foretaste of His divinity and the majestic glory that belongs to Him and is promised to those who remain faithful to Him. “From the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son.’” (Mark 9:7) Like His Baptism, the Transfiguration was a glorious manifestation of the divinity of the Son. “Listen to Him,” commanded the Voice of the Father. Let us also heed the words of the Blessed Mother, “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:12)