We can only Share in the Glory of Christ if We Listen to Him. Listening is a virtue of character which is fundamental in every relationship, be it with God or fellow humans. It can be the bond or disconnect between humans themselves and between them and God. We cannot in any way overemphasize the immense importance of being a good listener, or the need humans have to be really listened to, to be taken seriously, or to be understood. Of course, this need is not just social or political, or anything temporal; it is deeply spiritual too, and remains at the center of our relationship with God. Listening good is rewarding at all times, while on the other hand the lack of it can be disappointing and unrewarding.
Falling Short of the Glory of God:
Last weekend, the first reading revealed to us how Adam and Eve fell short of the glory of God and their destiny because they failed to listen to the voice of God. Though they listened to another voice, that became their undoing; exactly the greatest distraction they never needed. The consequence was suffering, death, and expulsion from paradise, the presence of God. Unfortunately this blissful relationship was broken irreparably except for God’s own Son to come in the flesh to expiate their disobedience or rebellion. Little wonder Christ came into the world insisting that he has come not to do his own will but the will of the Father who sent him (Jn. 6:38). So at the root of the original sin is the tussle for whose voice should be obeyed, God or the evil one.
Justified by Christ’s Obedience:
• Last weekend, again, the devil showed how unrelenting he could be when he tempted Jesus. He wanted to turn Jesus aside from his destiny which is the glory of God, to himself, the evil one, just like he did to Adam and Eve. The sneaky serpent, once again, tried to make his own voice superior to that of God. He failed. Jesus stood firm to his mission and destiny. He knew why he came into the world and the glory that he would seek – the glory that he shared with the Father. Thus, he said, “Glorify me with that glory which I had with you before the world began” (Jn. 17:5). Accordingly, St. Paul teaches that by the obedience of the one man, Jesus, the many will be made righteous (Rom. 5:19).
Obedience to God as Faith:
Today’s readings demonstrate that faith can be defined in terms of listening to God’s voice. The faith of Abram is revealed today as obedience to God and trust in the one who called him. Abram listened to the voice of God and that became his justification and blessing for his progeny. He had no guarantee to the promises he was made by God but he still obeyed; he listened, and his obedience paid off with immense rewards as justification (Rom 4:3). According to Hebrews 11; 1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In today’s Gospel, God once again demands the restoration of obedience to himself through his Son – “This is my beloved Son…Listen to him.” In preparation for his passion and death, Jesus now goes to seek the will of the Father on the Mountain of Transfiguration. I reason that at this time he wants to talk to his Father in prayer about his impending passion and death, assure his disciples that this agony is the path to God’s glory for him and for the salvation of all and, finally, confirm by Moses and Elijah that the law and the prophets were ordained for this purpose.
Listening to Jesus, the Son of God:
Today, the Father charges us to listen to Jesus, his Son. Even at Cana in Galilee, Mary tells the disciples to “do what he tells you” (Jn. 2:5). The Lord himself also insists that the sheep that belong to him listen to his voice (Jn. 10:27). He adds that whoever has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me (Jn. 14:21). Part of what it means to listen to Jesus is to meet him in prayer as he did with the Father today. Listening to Jesus also means following his footsteps because as he says, the sheep that belong to him follow him (Jn. 10:27). Listening to Jesus equally can be heeding to the voices of those that cry out to us for help. It can entail giving an ear to our spouses, parents, children, and friends when they are really concerned about us or whenever they request of us. How much do we even listen to advise? Many-a-man or woman has made great mistakes for not listening? Our children have, too. Or What is the reason for all our “had I known” if not for the neglect to listen to either the voice within or pieces of advice given to us by our friends or families? Today, the Lord invites us to be keen listeners because he who listens to advise will not only dwell with the wise but will taste the glory of God.
Fr. Chikelue A.