The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Jesus’s transfiguration on Mount Tabor. One astonishing event is what Peter, James, and John did as they watch Jesus’s change in appearance. They became scared. Yet, a voice told them to listen to their beloved Son. After the events subsided, Jesus encourages them to “Rise and be not afraid.” That same verse appears an additional 364 times in the bible. It sounds like a constant reminder in our inbox or from a trusted friend.
In the end, Jesus told Peter, James, and John: "Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." The transfiguration proves the divinity of Christ. At the same time, it talks about the redemptive suffering that Christ has to go through in order to triumph over evil. Later on, we see that all the Twelve were scattered out of fear during his suffering for humanity, with the exception of one- John.
Pope Francis, when he addressed the hundreds of thousand during the closing of the recent World Youth Day gathering in Lisbon stated: “Do not be afraid. It is no longer I, it is Jesus himself who is looking at you. He knows the heart of each one of you.” Christ knew the Twelve that He had called out of his love. He knew that they would leave Him when He needed them the most. Yet, his unconditional love for the broken humanity was so strong that He gathered these Twelve men to build His pilgrim Church on earth. When the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, they were able to break the chain of their fear and preach the Good News with courage to all creation.
Today, we are under siege by fear. The fear of being rejected when we share our pro-life convictions with family, friends, and even co-workers. The fear of losing a career when we speak the truth. How long can our silence go when the church is being disowned, attacked, and being mocked?
Fulton Sheen reminds us, “The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”
Even the beloved bishop knew that we are at a crossroads in deciding what road to take. Just like the Apostles since the Pentecost, let us also rise and preach the Truth to all creation.