Fear and trembling transformed
Readings: Genesis 15:5-12,17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36
When faced with something unknown I often experience fear. Nothing unusual, I guess, and I’m sure many would sympathize with this. How difficult sometimes it can be to believe a stranger! Yet, Abraham did it. ‘Darkness’ and ‘dread’ fell on him, yet he believed and this was reckoned to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). I dislike people who avoid eye contact. It makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. I want to see their face, when they talk to me, for it communicates more than words.
If you fear to trust in God, whom you do not know, remember that God became one of us, so that we could see his human face. When on the Mount Tabor the apostles saw Christ’s transformed face they also beheld God’s glory. Their fear and trembling was then transformed, and they realized, not knowing what to say or what to do, that it does not present a threat to them. The encounter with God led them to accept the mission:
“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35).
This they followed, giving up their lives for the Word.
I think, then, I can believe the promise of a stranger, whose face and words are true. Even more, still, the true promise of somebody, who is closer to myself than I am. The promise made to Abraham is fulfilled for us, his children in faith, in Christ. Our promised land is his kingdom that begins in this life, on earth, and continues after death, in heaven. The dread of the unknown is being transformed here into a great desire to share in the divine life, to become God’s friend.
You will find a homily for each Sunday and Solemnity on TORCH, the preaching web site of the English Dominicans.