Fellow lovers of Pam, (Hmmm… that’s a strange salutation for a husband to give.)
Let’s start, here, by giving a super big shout-out and a ‘Happy Birthday!’ to Pam’s brother and Angelique’s uncle, David Vitale. David’s exact age is a top secret, but I think it’s safe to say that he no longer gets carded when he orders his single malt. Would it surprise you to learn that one of the first things Pamela did after her recent reminder about the preciousness of life was to give David a call and tell him what a wonderful big brother he’s been to her? I hope the rest of you won’t wait for a diagnosis of brain cancer before showering your big brothers with the gratitude they deserve!
Well, if it’s David Vitale’s birthday (which is a good thing), it’s also the anniversary of our nation’s military detonating an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan (a very, very, very bad thing). As little as I know about life, I do know that our loving, patient, merciful and compassionate God is longing for the day when Her children do a little better job at ‘respecting life’ than we did that day, or than we do most days; and by ‘respect life’ I mean you to understand that we are to respect EACH OTHER’S lives — without discrimination.
I do want you all to know, however, that whenever I get really depressed about the lousy job we’re doing of respecting each other, I’m almost always given an opportunity to be really inspired by the simple acts of love folks will do for the very ones who depend on them. That’s when I feel some hope for humanity. The ten million acts of kindness that have been directed to the Bradfords over the past two and a half weeks have inspired me with a mountain of hope for humanity.
Finally, if it’s David Vitale’s birthday, and if it’s the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, it must also be the Feast of the Transfiguration. I’ll resist the temptation to hurl some Bible at you but if you’re one of those people, you can poke around until you find Mark 9, 2-10 to get the skinny on today’s gospel. For the rest of you, I’ll simply say that on one particular occasion Jesus gathered up a few of the luminaries in the apostolate, climbed up the mountain, showed his companions the unsurpassing glory that comes with having a divine nature and gave an audience to Moses and Elijah. After that, the voice of God ratified Jesus’ amazing claim of sonship. (If you’re a Bible nerd, you’ll recall that God voiced the same words of fatherly pride back in Matthew 3. As a father who never tires of demonstrating his pleasure in a child, I have no trouble understanding the Father’s inclination to repeat Himself). Please understand that I’m leaving all the drama and suspense and humor out of the story so I can move quickly to the sliver of scripture I want to deal with.
(I know, I know, I’m breaking my promise by subjecting you all to the pain of yet another Bible lesson — but please be gentle with old Captain Catholic. He simply doesn’t have the strength of will to pass up a chance to expound on the doctrine of the Incarnation. Watch him salivate whenever he gets the chance to comment on Feast of the Annunciation, or on the Baptism of Christ, or on the Nativity, or on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The poor boy simply can’t help himself.)
That said, I want to spotlight one little snippet, that being Peter’s comment to the Lord: “Rabbi, it is good that we are here!” Peter figured it was ‘good’ because he figured he was in heaven, and he figured right! Nothing we humans like better than the thought of being in heaven, being in what we hopefully call ‘a better place’. Peter wanted to stay, which is typical of the lot of us. While we’re in the world, we’re weary of the world, we’re fed up with the suffering, and the heartache, and the doubt and all the other things that are inevitable for residents of Planet Earth. Peter wanted out. Let’s take a show of hands. I’m thinking maybe you’ve wanted out from time to time as well.
The point of the whole story, the lesson, the glorious example of our God who is also one of us, is that God doesn’t want out. Even from His vantage point on the other side of the celestial shore, God is stirred by a longing to be here, mixing it up with us, battling injustice, consoling the ones in grief, inspiring the faint hearted, appreciating the earnest. We’re all looking for ‘out’; but he’s looking for ‘in’. In, as in ‘right here’. If you take God’s lead you’ll take stock of the very situation we’re in and say, “It is good that we are here!” And it is.
Imagine, if you will, what the world would be like if we all appreciated the magnificent blessing of the present moment.
Bye For Now,