Abbot Francis Rossiter died peacefully on Friday 11th March. As many of you know he worked for many years in our parish. Of course we will miss him very much. Please pray for his soul and our community. RIP.
In the Gospel this Sunday we see Jesus transfigured on the mountain. Peter’s reaction is that they must “do something”. He suggests that three tents be set up, one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for Jesus. In this he seems to merely equate Jesus with these two albeit pivotal figures in Jewish history, representing the Law and the Prophets. This illustrates what so often happens when we feel we must get control and do something: we miss the point and get it wrong. Actually Peter is not being asked to do anything except listen. The voice from heaven says “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.”
This message for Peter, and for James and John, the other two Apostles with him on the mountain, is for us. At least this may sound easy for us but, actually, listening can be the hardest thing of all. Listening is not the same as simply hearing. We can hear a sound whether we like it or not whereas listening requires a conscious effort. As with anything that requires an effort we can either not do it at all, put our entire effort into it or settle for a response in-between. When someone is talking to us, so often we “half” listen. We do not really listen to what they are saying. It is so important for us if we are really to live happily as Christians that we make an effort into listening to Jesus.
This Lent takes place against a background of the fighting and destruction in Ukraine. I am sure we are making Ukraine an intention in our prayers and Lenten commitments. I suggest it is also important to remember that there is a wider background – the love and mercy of Jesus. We remember particularly Ukrainians in this parish and those who have Ukrainian relatives and connexions. We earnestly pray for the fighting to stop as we are encouraged by the certain hope that Jesus Christ brings good out of the most unpromising circumstances.