Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Only Day I Work

The running joke in my family is that Sunday is the only day I work. Today was one of those days that seem like it lasted a week.

First off, today is Announcement Sunday for the Annual Catholic Appeal of the Diocese of Brooklyn. What this means for me is that I have to speak at all the Masses, 6 English and 2 Spanish, and show the Appeal video. I have on more Mass to go, the 6PM this evening and I am so tired of the video. Thank God that the parishioners only have to watch it once!

Before I start the video, I begin by thanking the people of St. Sebastian Parish for their tremendous generosity. This is my seventh Appeal and the parishioners never cease to amaze me. St. Sebastian has the largest goal, by far, of any parish in Queens or Brooklyn, $133,349. Every year we have surpasses our goal, sometimes even doubling it, with the amount over goal coming back to the parish.

I have to confess that it really kills me to replace a homily at Mass with a pitch for the Appeal but it is just that important!

Today is the Second Sunday of Lent and the Gospel(Mk.9:2-10) is the story of The Transfiguration. This year we read St. Mark's version but you may wish to read Luke(9:28b-36) and Matthew(17:1-9) as well.It's a great opportunity to practice "composition of place"(compositio loci). First, read the Gospel passage. Now spend time with it an put yourself into the scene. The Evangelists tells us that Jesus went to a high mountain to pray. Can you see yourself being led up the mountain by Jesus? Do you feel the rigor of the journey? Can you imagine the place? What can you see as you look around? He only has Peter, James, and John with Him. He went there to pray, and while at prayer this amazing "transfiguration" takes place. The three disciples are watching Jesus at prayer and they see Him change in appearance. "His clothes become dazzeling white."(Mk) "His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light."(Mt) All this imagery, can you picture what this must have been like for the disciples; their hearts racing, their minds startled, their vision blinded. Then they see Moses and Elijah - representing The Law and The Prophets(The Old Covenant)- in conversation with Jesus. St. Luke tells us that they "spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem."

Peter speaks, and it's obvious he hasn't a clue as to what he is seeing; "they were so terrified." Can you see what is happening? Is your heart pounding? Then the cloud, the voice, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." Then, all is back to normal; or could anything ever be "normal" again for the three disciples, or for us.

You might want to try spending time with the Transfiguration during your prayer this week.

God bless you!