Aug 3, 2017
Parish picnics are fun, especially when parishioners can eat and enjoy themselves on their own turf. The campus of Transfiguration parish is spacious and beautiful, colorful and clean, teeming with trees and God’s tiny creatures of the animal kingdom. How uplifting it is to watch the fawns and their mother graze and rest and run on our well-trimmed lawns. How inspiring is our Prayer Garden, truly a place for serene reflection and soothing silence. All these venues are refreshingly clean and carefully manicured to enhance their beauty. We, the parishioners, are truly blessed by God and we are good stewards of the land entrusted to us. Praise the Lord!
The Transfiguration of Jesus as recorded in Luke’s Gospel (as well as Matthew Ch. 17 and Mark Ch. 9) speaks powerfully to us of one of the prominent and pervasive Gospel themes. That theme is AFFIRMATION. God the Father affirms Jesus, His Son, “This is my chosen Son: listen to him.” (Luke 9:35) A similar affirmation is recorded earlier in this Gospel when John baptized Jesus at the Jordan River, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. (Luke 3:22)
The ministry of Jesus was that of affirmation. He listened and spoke with those he met; he offered them healing of their diseases, bodily and emotional ills. To affirm is to heal, that is, to let others feel whole once again and to recognize their goodness. Jesus assured them of their personal worth, included them in His love and in the community of humanity. We are given healing when others show us attention, offer encouraging words and supportive service, when they invite us to journey with them through life’s many struggles. To take up our crosses and follow Jesus means that we, his disciples, “walk the walk” of affirmation. A smile at times will to this work; a word of congratulations, or a pat on the shoulder, a gentle hug, or a word of thanks or praise will bring healing and hope to our brothers and sisters. The greatest gifts we can offer to others are the smallest gifts, words and gestures wrapped in the cloak of warmth and sincerity.
As we meditate on the Transfiguration of Jesus we realize that this event was God’s assuring and affirming gesture of love for His son. This event on Mt. Tabor transformed the lives of the disciples who witnessed it! In turn, in our own day, as we reveal God’s love (affirmation) to others, our lives and theirs may be transformed. May the parish family picnic day be for us an occasion of the transforming power and practice of affirmation.