Do not be afraid, I am with you

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One morning last week I woke up very early.  We had left the windows in our camper open during the night because it was quite warm in Winter Haven, Florida where we are vacationing.  As I looked out the window, I noticed that the sky was a beautiful rose color and I could hear the birds singing their cheerful songs.  As the sun began to rise, its light was so bright that I had to close my eyes because of its intensity as it streamed through the window.  As I lay there with my eyes closed, I felt a soft breeze brush my face and it was as if God had reached down and touched the earth with a good morning kiss.  I felt like a small glowing ember, full of love and peace; I sensed the presence of God.

Have you ever walked beside the ocean and enjoyed the sun as it danced on the water, looking like a million diamonds; have you listened to the waves as they crash against the shore or the cry of the seagulls as they circle so lazy in the sky?  Then I believe you have seen a glimpse of God’s majesty.  Have you ever held a baby or looked into his/her eyes or heard him/her laugh?  Then I believe you have seen the innocence of God and felt his love.  Have you ever walked in the woods and listened to the rustle of the leaves or felt the breeze blowing on your face; or have you listened to the soft babbling of a brook?  Then I believe you have felt the peace of God.  Have you ever attended an hour of adoration and gazed at the Holy Eucharist, realizing that you were in the presence of God, immersed in his love; or have you knelt down after receiving the body and blood of Christ at Communion and felt a glowing love and presence in your heart?  Then I believe you have experienced the divinity of God.

In today’s gospel, Jesus led Peter, James and John up the mountain with him to pray.  He knew that they had heard him preach, they had witnessed the many miracles he had preformed and for the most part they knew who he was.  However, Jesus knew that he would soon be crucified and that it would be a fearful and sorrowful time for them.  I believe he wanted them to experience his divinity to give them strength for what was about to take place.  When the Father spoke from the heavens, Peter, James and John fell to the ground in awe and fear.  Jesus touched them and said “Do not be afraid.”  And that is one message I believe we can learn from the transfiguration.  Jesus gives us special moments in our own lives where we feel his majesty, innocence, love, peace, and his divinity.  Those moments are given to us to hold and remember when our own fears and sorrows come.  When we lose someone we love, suffer physically or financially, or for any other reason, Jesus is telling us: “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” As this new week begins, let each of us open our hearts and our senses to those special God given moments with expectation.

Sylvia Bates