A key phrase in the readings assigned for today is: God exists, and rewards those who seek Him. In times past, in learned theological discourse, this brief remark represented, at least for some theologians, the heart of what faith is all about.
For, what faith entails is very much at the heart of today’s readings, as the author of Hebrews, for instance, proceeds to illustrate faith in terms of people from out of the Old or First Testament in the bible: Abel, Enoch, Noah. All three of these were rewarded because they acknowledged God.
The reading from Mark’s gospel elevates the process of faith to the level of vision, as Peter, James and John are privileged to witness the Transfiguration of Jesus, in the company of Elijah and Moses. These three apostles saw a vision, while still operating in the realm of faith. The Transfiguration of Jesus constituted a higher level of reward, in their case, since two great privileges were granted them: to hear the Father’s voice advising them to listen to Jesus, and to receive from Jesus the admonition to keep to themselves the great revelation that He was to rise from the dead.
The past that is depicted here works a powerful impact on the faith that graces us. It provides us models of faith from out of the past, each of whom reaped the rewards that faith provided them. We share in this past, especially through the law mediated to us by Moses and the prophecies pronounced by Elijah and John the Baptist. We are the beneficiaries of these testimonies from the Jewish testament, which enable us also to make our own faith affirmation that God exists and rewards those who seek Him. (301)
Fr. Sebastian MacDonald, C.P. is a member of Sacred Heart Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.