18 Feb 2017: Signboards


Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: Heb, 11: 1-7; Ps. 145: 2-11; Gospel: Mk. 9: 2-13

The most famous and simplest definition of FAITH is given in today’s first reading: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” We then see how the author goes on to cite examples from history, to show the importance of faith and how history itself was written by faith.The author states that it is “by faith that we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible, came into being through the invisible.”From this perspective, faith as I like to see it is: the eyes with which we see the invisible in the visible. If the visible came into  being through the invisible, the visible is the manifestation of the invisible or to say that the visible is the pointer to the invisible.Meaning to say, we have to learn to see God in the creation, or the creation is the signboard that leads us to our destin(y)ation: God.

In the gospel of today, we see the transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus reveals himself in full glory to his select disciples. There can be no more doubts about His divinity. Yet, his disciples are not fully convinced. They saw the unseen, the unseeable, yet they didn’t believe or rather didn’t understand it fully. What is the obvious conclusion, in the light of today’s line of thought? They didn’t have faith. Jesus himself calls them: “men of little faith.” But, what I am trying to arrive is not that. I am no one to judge what was going on in their minds some 2000 years ago. Jesus is surely upset. At the most, what they (disciples) could say was “wow, what a great show… let’s camp here and enjoy this show.” And as they go down the hill, his disciples ask him like students who have come prepared for the class… why is it that Elijah must come before the Messiah. Jesus can’t believe his ears… “well, you know that part where it is written about the coming of Messiah… because that is what you are all eagerly waiting for… surely you can read the signboards and you are moving in the right direction, yet you can’t see that you have reached the destination. You have seen the Messiah and yet, you are worried about the preconditions of Messiah.” Jesus is saying this because the disciples fail to see what is written about the Messiah, that he has to suffer and die, yet they see everything else around it.

This is when signboards deviate us from God, or signboards prove to be distractions. We know to read the signs, but we fail to look where the signboards point us to. Faith is the knowledge which helps us read the visible creation – the signboard, pointing us to the invisible God.

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