Feast of the Transfiguration
At exactly 8:15 in the morning, Japanese time, on August 6, 1945, everything changed forever.
At that moment the bombardier on an American B-29 plane unloaded a weapon more destructive than any in the previous 200,000 years of human existence.
With the unleashing of the first A-bomb, more than 100,000 Japanese lives were instantly obliterated.
But more than the tragic deaths, the event at Hiroshima altered forever how we humans understand what we can do to each other and to our fragile planet. We, the only rational beings on this orb floating in lonely space, now know we forever hold the ability to destroy all life…microorganisms, sea creatures, trees, butterflies, domestic and wild animals, and every man, woman and child.
Never before had people known the immense power they hold to produce evil.
Now, despite 76 years to reflect on our potency and curb it, we have still failed to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Six popes have pleaded for nuclear disarmament, yet it remains an idealistic fantasy in the minds of political leaders. The strongest calls for laying down these weapons have come from Pope Francis, who asks all nations to abandon the insanity of deterrence by nuclear buildup.
What our Catholic leaders have preached is more than the destruction of these idols of death. The more radical message they offer is that, as much evil unleashed in a nuclear weapon, there is an even greater capacity of humans for good.
The Providential communiqué on this feast could not be clearer: the evil of Hiroshima is the extreme opposite of the event the universal Church celebrates on August 6 every year. At the Transfiguration, God the Father let the lead apostles glimpse the authority, power and transformation in the life of Jesus. But the peek at the glory of Jesus was but a foretaste of what His disciples themselves would be. We, Jesus’ followers, are capable of doing good deeds beyond what even Jesus Himself did. We are charged with transforming our world from fear, hatred, divisions, destruction of one another and the earth into a world as God wants: peaceful, flourishing, fully alive in love.
Our work is serious and may cause suffering, setbacks, disappointment and even death. But, in doing our part in our spot on the earth we are assured of being united with the efforts of billions of good people around the globe, filled with grace, moving toward unity with each other and God for good.
What is your job today in this universal effort?
Jim Wayne is a board member of the Passionist Solidarity Network (PSN), and author of The Unfinished Man. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.