Shaped by a voice – Transfiguration

Mountain voices – Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons

A homily for Transfiguration Sunday

The Listener

“The trouble with clergy” says Fr Nicholas Stebbing, CR,  “is that they don’t listen. They’re so used to people listening to them”.


When someone else is talking, that’s not free thinking time for you – I tell myself.  I’m a poor listening.  I interrupt, and finish people’s sentences off.  I know I’m doing it, and I still I do it!

A good listener is something to be.  To truly listen to each other, with love and attention, is how we begin to heal this world.

It was said of St Pope John Paul the Great that when you were speaking to him, even if he only had just few moments in a very busy crowd, it was as if nothing else in the world mattered – except the fact that you were speaking.   No matter who you were, John Paul listened to you, with his whole attention.

That’s a gift we all need.  And here’s the thing: learning to listen with attention to others is how we learn to listen with attention to God

Pope John Paul 2

In the depth of your being, God is always speaking, and if you can learn to be still for a few moments and breathe slowly,  you’ll slowly begin to attune yourself to the wordless voice of His Spirit within you, always present, always breathing and praying within you.

We all need to listen to that voice.  Because when God speaks, things happen.   When God says, “let there be light”, there is light.   When God says, “you are baptised” you really are baptised.  When God says, through the priest, “this is my body, this is my blood” the bread and wine are changed, and they become channels of Jesus’ Risen Life.    And if your heart is listening, you’ll get that.

Listen.   Because all things can be shaped by God’s voice.   Especially a face.

“His face shone like the sun”

When, at the top of the mountain, in front of Peter, James and John, God the Father says “This is my beloved Son” Jesus is transfigured before their eyes, and they get a glimpse of who He really is; His face shines like the sun, His glory blazes so intensely they fall down before Him.

The face of Jesus is the perfect human expression of all that God wants to say.   That’s why God says:  “listen to Him”.

There are plenty of voices we are happy to listen to, with undivided attention.    We listen to the world telling us that we are what we achieve, what we succeed at, what we look like.   We’re happy listening to the voice of the demons telling us we’re unloveable, that we’re alone, that we’re no good.   No one needs to tell us how to listen to the voice of fear, or anger, or suspicion.    Practice makes perfect!  We lavish upon these voices the time they do not deserve.

Voices shape us, even the way we look.  They leave an imprint on the face.

Voices of fear, suspicion, resentment – none of these can tell you who you are.   There is only one voice that can:  the one that loves you.   And the One who loves you more than any other, is the voice that Jesus hears this morning.  It is the voice that says:   “you are my beloved”.

Listen!   It’s telling you the deepest truth there is about you.  You are God’s beloved.   Everything else is just rock n roll.

Jesus listened to the voice of the Father, He let it shape all that He was, and He blazed like the sun.

A little girl I knew once said to me: ‘you can hear what God is saying to you, but it’s not in words”.  Indeed. We can all learn to be still, and listen to the breathing, praying, Christ within.  He sounds like Love.

Set your phone timer for 2 minutes.   Be still, and feel the Breathing Word of God within you.   Listen to that, and it will begin to touch

And transfigure

all that you are.

Transfiguration – Margot Krebs-Neale, Malcolm Guite




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