Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.
What happened on Mount Tabor?
In the first place, Jesus revealed in a stunning way that He is God. By doing this He also sought to inspire hope in his followers who would witness His death – and resurrection.
But I think that in another way Jesus was trying to show us who we really are in the depths of our being and who we really can become.
The Orthodox tradition takes seriously the statement of St. Athanasius that God became human that we might become God.
There is the spark of God’s love and divinity at the center of our being. It is obscured by sin but it is still there. On Mount Tabor, Jesus showed us that speak of God which can become a burning flame of love when we listen to Him.
But sometimes what we do or fail to do or the circumstances of life try to put out that spark – or substitute false fires of destruction for that flame of love.
So today, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, we remember that attempt to unleash the power of death, ignoring the lives of the civilians who lived in Hiroshima.
Pope Paul VI, who died on August 6, 1978, put it bluntly in his World Peace Day Message for 1976:
“If the consciousness of universal brotherhood truly penetrates into the hearts of [humans], will they still need to arm themselves to the point of becoming blind and fanatic killers of their brethren who in themselves are innocent, and of perpetrating, as a contribution to peace, butchery of untold magnitude, as at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945? In fact has not our own time had an example of what can be done by a weak man, Gandhi — armed only with the principle of nonviolence — to vindicate for a nation of hundreds of millions of human beings the freedom and dignity of a new people?”
Will we choose the spark of love of Jesus on Mount Tabor and give of ourselves or will we choose the fire of death of atomic and nuclear weapons, of drones, of missiles aimed at civilians?
The future of our planet depends on what we choose.
But even more, our future depends on our choice.
Will we nurture the spark of God in our hearts and the hearts of others or will we bring death with the fires of our weapons?