2nd Sunday of Lent
Is there anyone here who has not been accused of selective hearing? Lahat naman tayo, siguro, napagsabihan na: “Pinipili mo lang ‘yung gusto mong marinig!” Many kids today suffer from partial deafness. Ang mga bata ngayon parang mga bingi kapag nakatutok na sa mga gadgets nila – smartphone, tablet, laptop, Playstation.
One of the repercussions of loud rock music is an early onset of hearing problems for the rockistas and headbangers. As rockistas and headbangers move into their fifties, more and more of them are going to be sporting hearing aid devices of some sort.
But it is not just the ears that are suffering from too much, too loud. Research has discovered that excess noise has more impact on the body than just hearing loss. It also contributes to high blood pressure and elevated death rates from diseases of the hear. Too much noise is bad for us. We should be able to choose the right voices to listen to and the unnecessary noises that must fall on deaf ears.
Today’s gospel reading narrates the story of the Lord’s transfiguration. It also tells us that a voice from the cloud said: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Since this was said during the transfiguration of Jesus, we are somehow being told by that mysterious voice: “If you want to experience transfiguration… if you want to be transfigured like my Son… then, listen to him… Follow him… Be like him.”
Let Jesus be our high-tech “hearing aid” – filtering and clarifying what we hear and how we respond. “Listen to him.” Or as Jesus puts it elsewhere: “Learn from me.”
What is keeping us from hearing God’s voice and listening to Jesus? Have you developed your own “selective hearing” to the point that only a few beautifully phrased platitudes and clichés about generally being ‘nice’ define your Christian identity? Have you developed your own “partial deafness” to the point that you do not anymore hear the gospel message calling for constant conversion and renewal and for radical change in your way of living? Have you developed your own “hearing loss” and have you damaged your spiritual ears for tuning in to the noise of worldly entertainment and pleasure too much?
“Listen to him. Listen to my beloved Son.” God does not say, “Listen to him when it fits into your lifestyle,” or “Listen to him as long as it does not disturb the rest of your life.” God’s message to us is simple and unadorned: “Listen to him.”
At the start of each morning and at the end of each evening, before and after a particular task or activity, every moment of the day, wherever you are… “Listen to him.” In the midst of distractions and diversions, in the midst of the deafening noises around you, including the soundbites of social media, when everything else is loud and confusing, above all other voices… “Listen to him.” When you are busy and crowded, pressured and stressed, harried and harassed, tense and nervous, alone and lonely, disheartened and discouraged, when you are tired and burdened… “Listen to him.” In the face of tremendous struggles and temptations, in the midst of celebrations and successes, in the aftermath of failures and frustrations, come what may… “Listen to him.” Before you decide, before you choose, before you act – before you do anything else… “Listen to him.”
Lent is clearly a call to listen to Jesus more attentively. May each of us realize this: By listening attentively to Jesus, I allow myself to be transfigured. I allow myself to become a better person, a better child, a better friend – a better follower of Christ. I allow the Lord’s gentle voice to soothe my pounding heart, to enlighten my confused mind, to ease my pain. Let God transfigure us. Let God transform us.
Let us end with a prayer: Lord God, help me to make this Lenten season a moment of transfiguration for me: from someone who is selfish and self-centered to somebody who is able to manifest selfless love… from someone who is preoccupied with material things to somebody who seeks first the kingdom of God… from someone who is burdened with worries, fears, and anxieties to somebody who is filled with trust and hope in God… from someone who is imprisoned by guilt and bitterness to somebody who is forgiven and is able to forgive… from someone who is enslaved by the dictates of the world, by the standards of society and the expectations of others, to somebody who finds freedom in following God’s will. Loving Father, may Your love make me Christ-like. Amen.