HINDSIGHT – SEEING WHAT WAS OUT OF SIGHT
HOMILY – 2 LENT [A] 2017 [Matthew 17:1-9]
Hindsight! I love the taste of words, and “hindsight” has a mouthful of flavours. It’s a word that captures its meaning in a flash! Yet it’s not a “flashback” – not a recreating of a past event or experience, but rather a gradual unfolding, through a series of experiences that may be spread over many years, taking you back to a point in your life that you hardly noticed at the time and certainly did not understand or appreciate.
Hindsight opens your eyes to a truth that for a time lay hidden, but was always meant to contribute to your life. Hindsight can be likened to a good parent who knows how much the child can take in at any given time and can judge whether total disclosure of something is appropriate or not.
That’s what happened with the experience of the three apostles, Peter, James and John, on the mountain. What we call the “transfiguration” was their extraordinary meeting with Jesus when he opened to them something of his divine essence. They could not take it in, understand it or even express what it was like. Only later, much later, after the resurrection, would they be able to look back and grasp the significance of what they witnessed that day.
Hindsight brought them to see the full picture. The revelation of Jesus as Son of God, to whom the prophets (Ezekiel) and great leaders of old (Moses) paid homage, would affirm and endorse the faith of those three apostles who were to lead the first Christian communities and be confronted with enormous opposition, hatred and persecution.
When Peter, James and John looked back from the horror of Calvary and the burial place of Jesus being found empty, they realised that moment with Jesus on the mountain was preparing them, transforming their minds and their hearts, to understand the impact and implication of resurrection. Peter, who found the message of Jesus difficult to grasp and who would make the horrible blunder of denying he knew Jesus, would later write, in his first letter, that it was on the holy mountain that we saw the glory of Jesus and heard the voice of God. [cf 1 Peter 1:16-18]
When you look back at your own life, I am sure you can now see explanations for happenings you couldn’t understand or appreciate when they occurred. The lack of clarity or the inability to make sense of something can frustrate and anger; it takes the patience and trust that grows in a loving heart to accept the waiting time.
Abraham [1st Reading] was called to leave his country, his family and his father’s house and take a direction which appeared far from certain. Abraham, with his wife Sarah, became our ancestor in faith, stepping into the unknown with only their faith to guide them.
You and I may not have to encounter such a radical mission, but you will have met situations – perhaps you’re facing one now – where all you can do is trust. Hindsight, I believe, is a blessing that may not always solve issues, but will at least help us appreciate that, yes, there is a reason for everything. In the end, that’s what helped the apostles.
With patience, hope and trust, whatever we can’t make sense of, or whatever seems too hard, can bring us joy and peace and life – letting doubt take care of itself.