Pitching a Tent for Our Lord: Weekly Message for 08-06-2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

 Today’s feast of the Transfiguration seems like an odd-lot moment in the life of Christ if viewed in isolation. But viewed in the wider context of Scripture, it’s chockful of meaning. 

Take those tents that Peter wanted to set up for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah (Matthew 17:4; Luke 9:33; Mark 9:5). 

The notion of tents recalls the dwellings of the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. It also recalls the Tent of Meeting (or tabernacle) in which the ark of the covenant was kept. It was a special place of God’s presence. 

Tents by nature are temporary. They can be packed up and moved. They are for people who don’t stay put permanently. 

Yet that special tent of God’s presence did anchor the Israelites. It reminded them of something – Someone – permanent in their midst. They weren’t alone in the wilderness. The Almighty dwelt among them. 

This is a timely reminder for us. We too are meant to live as pilgrims passing through the wilderness of this world with our sights set on a promised land. This world will never be a paradise, the hopes of technocrats notwithstanding. 

Just as importantly, we aren’t alone. The Almighty still dwells among us in a tabernacle. The Jesus of the transfiguration is with us in the Eucharist, ready to nourish us, transform us and lift us up. 

But we need to set up a tent for him. We need to make room for him in our lives. 

Now is as good a time as ever to make a bit more room for Our Lord and to go up the mountain with him. To that end, our newest Retreat Guide, Anchored in Light, might help. 

And may we be able to say like Peter, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” 

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor


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