Jesus in his ministry loved to use parables and pictures in his teaching and the evangelists had learnt that this was a good way of helping people to understand the nature of Jesus and of Christianity.
In the Gospel for today we are given a dramatic picture of Jesus on the mount with Moses and Elijah. In pictorial form we see Jesus as part of the Hebrew Scriptures. In other words you cannot separate Jesus from the Old Testament. In order to understand Jesus we need to read and understand the Old Testament. As Christians we cannot simply start our reading with the New Testament and ignore what came before.
When we read the Old Testament we are faced with the fact that the Jewish people were constantly making mistakes, at times worshipping idols, at times acting unjustly, being racist and judgemental, lacking in love and compassion, being greedy and treating others with disdain - the list is endless.
How did they attempt to deal with this: at one extreme they threw the rule book out of the window at the other they piled up rule upon rule, often losing sight of what was at the heart of life - in a word God!
When we look at our world today are we any different? Our idols may not be wood and precious metal but what about the idols of power, money and material goods? Have we removed injustice, greed and hatred from our world? The answer of course is no, we are often no better than the Jews were over 2,000 years ago.
We may be able to change small parts of the world around us but we are not able to change the world. What we can do is to change ourselves. We have hardly finished with Christmas and now we are heading rapidly into Lent a time when we reflect on our relationship with God and particularly looking at what cuts us off from God.
I do not have the strength or moral fibre to do this, all I can do is to stop and be quiet and try to focus on God and allow God to do the rest. It is not in my strength but in the strength of God. May God bless us so that truly we may have a Holy Lent.
With love and prayers, Andrew SSL