February 2009

Today – Ash Wednesday – is the first day of Lent. A time of abstinence where we offer up our evasions, those little things that makes life easier and makes life and its hardship a bit more distant, so to speak.

In this sense Lent is both a tribulation and the greatest grace as we get closer: Our individual path through the desert to Jerusalem.

The reading today is about the transfiguration (From the gospel according to Saint Mark). As I’m not that knowledgeable I had a hard time to understand what was happening in this text. So I looked around a bit and thought that I could share it with you.

The transfiguration - Raphael

Here’s Mark 9:2-9

And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter and James and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them. And his garments became shining and exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller upon earth can make white. And there appeared to them Elias with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Rabbi, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he knew not what he said: for they were struck with fear.

And there was a cloud overshadowing them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying: This is my most beloved son; hear ye him. And immediately looking about, they saw no man any more, but Jesus only with them. And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them not to tell any man what things they had seen, till the Son of man shall be risen again from the dead. And they kept the word to themselves; questioning together what that should mean, when he shall be risen from the dead.

To my pleasant surprise it seems that I’m not the only one having a hard time to grasp what was happening here. Even the three apostles seems kind of confused too. So why did Peter say that he should start building tabernacles? Well, lets look at what Jesus, Moses and Elias is talking about.This is described in Saint Luke chapter 9:30-31:

And behold two men were talking with him. And they were Moses and Elias, Appearing in majesty. And they spoke of his decease that he should accomplish in Jerusalem.

My guess is that Peter rather thought of departure than of death. The three holy men talked about Christ’s departure from Jerusalem – which was death – But Peter did not know about Christ’s death and resurrection (as in questioning together what that should mean, when he shall be risen from the dead). He believe he just understand that Jesus will eventually departure from Jerusalem.

I believe this is the reason for Peters sudden outburst of love for carpentry and housebuilding. He finds it seemly to express his respect and love by referring to one of the three great feasts in the Hebrew liturgical calender: the Sukkot – the feast of tabernacles – an ancient Jewish festival in the remembrance of the Exodus (as in departure) and the temporary houses that was build during the great walk through the desert: Peter offers Jesus, Moses and Elias to make them tabernacles.

Isn’t this a nice thought: The great Apostle, the very first pope, was also a simple man, trying his best, and even when he doesn’t really understand, he tries so hard to do the best, and the most fitting, as he can.

– Pray for us, St. Peter, that we can act as humble and fitting as you did, when we do not understand.

Thanks all for your input to my previous post. You’re such a great bunch! It seems I got the green light even though I got nothing to say… Yay!

Minutz suggested that I write in Swedish instead: I like to practice my poor English, and I very much enjoy having contact with people from all around the world so apart from the title of this post – I’ll stick to English.

Therese suggested that I write a little something about my everyday life: My dear friend. That is such a good idea and I will start doing that from time to time (even though this will let what a grumpy old man I am shine through).

Gabrielle is too kind. I’m not at all sure I have that much to share. But I’ll try to come up with something more than just intermission music. Perhaps I can share storys from my peculiar friends or my peculiar past. The only problem with that is that it will let what a peculiar man I am, shine through…

Carol suggests I find me a great poem. (Haven’t you noticed, I haven’t finished the previous one yet?) I have a great interest for literature and perhaps I can find something, on a less grand scale, to write about every now and then. I think I have some ideas…

And finally, Ann whoagrees with me that I have nothing important to say. 😉 But then she quotes St Teresa of Avila :

Christ has no body
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

Isn’t that beautiful? (even though I doubt that I can live up to it,it is something worth striving for).