Today’s liturgy leads us into the great mystery of the Transfiguration of our Lord, Jesus Christ. At Mass, we heard in the Gospel: “this is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him”. (Mk 9:8)
Each line in the Scripture is an expression of the Eternal Father’s Word, calling us to LISTEN to that Word so that we might have “life in abundance” (Jn 10:10).
Our entire existence is really a call to be a hearer and keeper of the Word of God. When we speak of hearing, it is FAITH first of all of which we speak. Thus ‘faith is the organ of hearing,’ and ‘believing and hearing the Word of God’ is one and the same.
For me, St. Dominic is the best teacher of listening and obeying the Living Word.
In the Legenda of St. Cecilia we are told “in the evening time, Dominic used to come to the sisters and give them a conference in his brethren’s presence, and he used to instruct them in the duties of the Order, for they had no other master than himself”.
This one sentence from the first generation of the Order is rich in meaning, it tells us that Dominic took pains to make sure that the nuns received a good formation in the Order, it is also significant that Dominic preached to the nuns in the brethren’s presence, for it tells us that the brethren and the nuns are formed together to be of one mind and heart. The brethren and the nuns were to share the same vocation, striving for the goal of Preaching for the salvation of souls, yet each according to their particular expression.
Dominic himself was formed by constant listening and reflection on the Scriptures. He was a man of freedom because he possessed a listening heart. Because he was totally united to Jesus, he was a man for others.
The Word of God is a living Being. We are called to be God’s presence in the world and we can fulfil that mission through our obedient listening and openness in being formed by the Gospel.
The Bible has been given to us, not for information but for transformation into Christ. It brings us into his own relationship with the Father. Listening is the time for being! It is the way of making full contact with Truth.
Preaching doesn’t so much raise the question “what am I to say? rather it asks “who am I? “Are we friends of God”? A friend refers to who I am, not what I am doing. A Preacher is first and foremost a friend of God.
The desire to know God is also a manifestation of the desire to be known by God, to be known fully, to be embraced and loved totally.
Preaching begins and ends in contemplation and silence. The search for God is at the heart of authentic preaching. Preaching is actually God searching for us. This is the spirituality of the Preacher. (Fr. Simon Tugwell O.P.) In the homily on the feast of the Transfiguration, Origen said: “The garments of Jesus are the expression and letters of the Gospels with which He has clothed Himself, these become white to those who go up into the high mountain along with Jesus”.
If you love Jesus, and do what he said, then you will become the same colour as Jesus!