A woman walks into an optical office to return a pair of glasses that she purchased for her husband a week before. The assistant asks, “Yes, Ma’am, what seems to be the problem?” The woman replies, “I’m returning these glasses I bought for my husband. He’s still not seeing things my way.”
We need to see things God’s way.
Abraham believes that God wants the sacrifice of his first-born son. It is the practice of his Mesopotamian culture to offer to the Lord the first of his sons. Abraham’s vision of God includes human sacrifice. Did he consult Sarah his wife? Or did she hope and pray that the One True Unseen God would change her husband’s vision? We all know how the story ends. God knows Abraham’s loyalty. God appears to Abraham and Isaac is free.
We need to see things God’s way.
The funny thing is though- seeing things God’s way begins by listening. When the Father tells Peter, James and John to listen to His Son, Mark uses a word that has the same meaning as “acoustics.” To listen is not just to hear. Envisioning God’s way happens as we listen to the reverberation of the voice of Jesus. He just doesn’t speak. His voice bounces off every corner of the world, moving here and moving there until it takes root in our souls.
But ah, the difficulty of the Word taking root in our souls! Just before the Transfiguration, the Twelve argue about who among them is the greatest. And after the Transfiguration, we find that the disciples are unable to heal the epileptic boy because of their lack of a prayer life. And just a few days ago in Birmingham, Alabama, we find out that a 73 year-old man known to many people as Mr. Frank does not have some nice neighbors. See, Mr. Frank keeps his Christmas lights up on his eighty year old home too long after the holiday. So some snotty neighbors who are concerned about property values slip a note into his door. It reads in part: It might be in your best interest to consider selling your home so the yard can be properly landscaped and the house torn down so a new one can be built that is more fitting with the other homes on the street. Thank you. There is nothing wrong with his house or his yard. Sure, the house is not like the other $700,000.00 homes. So? So, when the good and decent neighbors discover the bullying from others around Mr. Frank, guess what they do? They all pull out their Christmas lights, and the neighborhood even two blocks down light up their homes to stand in solidarity with Mr. Frank.
In the words of St. Paul, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” God is always for us especially when we see things God’s way. In 1948, after a number of visions with Christ on the cross, St. Mother Teresa enters what St. John of the Cross calls “the dark night of the soul.” In TIME magazine, we read that she asks her spiritual director, Tell me, Father, why is there so much pain and darkness in my soul? All of her visions stop and she thinks that God abandons her. Her best secret is that she never gives up. She does not go in search of another vision…she does not look for another god. She is faithful to Jesus to the end because she sees things God’s way.
Maybe we will have a vision of God like Peter, James, John and Mother Teresa. But until then, we can see things God’s way when we continue to pray, celebrate the sacraments and support one other as fellow disciples.
Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.
2nd Sunday of Lent, Cycle A