Could Not vs. Did NotFr. Barnabas Powell
Today we prepare our hearts to celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord! Tomorrow is the Feast! Tonight we celebrate the Great Vespers of the Feast to properly get ready to enter fully into the Eucharistic celebration tomorrow!
The Feast is here in the midst of our fasting preparations for the Feast of the Dormition.
I love the wisdom of the Faith preserved in the rhythm of fasting and feasting. It arrests the haphazard way I can live my life and how too often life lives me rather than the other way around.
But the disciplines and wisdom of the Church stops me in my tracks and asks me to allow my own life to be transfigured by the very real Presence of Christ in my life. I am invited to join Peter, James, and John on Mt. Tabor and witness with them the Lord speaking to Moses and Elijah on the mountain and see Him in a foretaste of His glorified flesh before His Resurrection and His complete victory over death! I get to see what my flesh will look like if I continually allow Him to fill me with Himself and properly prepare me for an eternity with Him. Who, in their right mind, would neglect such an invitation?
I’ll tell you who – me, that’s who! And everyone who allows themselves to remain blind to the Uncreated Light of God’s love.
Just listen to this morning’s Gospel Lesson: “At that time, Jesus came to his own country, and taught the people in their synagogue so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:54-58
“And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” Notice it didn’t say “could not.” It says He “did not.” It wasn’t a matter of ability. How can mere humans and their petty unbelief stop God’s power? No, He, out of His freedom and based solely on His love for these people “DID NOT” do mighty works among them. He chose not to do these mighty works because it would have been a waste of time AND it would do nothing but add to the condemnation of these precious unbelievers! Doing mighty works in front of these folks would only bring greater condemnation on them. He knew their hearts. He knew they would not believe no matter what He did, so He didn’t add to their condemnation. He loved them!
And He loves us today, dear ones. He loves us so much that He waits to see who among us will draw near to Him to know Him and to receive true life from Him. He waits patiently and lovingly for you and for me to do the hard work of climbing Mt. Tabor to see what we are invited to see.
Today, we possess an invitation to go to the mountain and see Him as He really is so that we will finally wake up to who we really are, and what we can be if only we will.
When was the last time you stopped in your busy and hectic life and considered the constant invitation from God to know Him? In all this overwhelming life it is all too easy to say “Hey, isn’t that Mary’s Boy, and aren’t these His kin among us. We already know all we need to know about Him.” Excuses and doubts are so easy. Believe and courageous faith ask greater things of me.
Today, on the cusp of the Feast, will you join Him on the mountain? Will you break from the pack so easily distracted by doubts and the mundane, and dare to see Him as He is? Today, let’s climb higher!