The Gospel reading, on this 18th Sunday in ordinary times (Matthew 17:1-9), presents us with the story of the Transfiguration. Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John up a high mountain, “And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
One of the things I admire about Peter the apostle is that he tends always to live in the moment. His present-moment-awareness is very profound. It is really a good way to live—living in the present moment, being aware of what is happening right here, right now, and enjoying fully every moment of it. If it is pleasant, relishing it without holding on to it when things change, because they will, and if it is unpleasant, embracing it without fearing that it will always stay that way, because it will not. There is nothing more precious than living in the here and now—the present moment—noticing the events of the now, fully alive, fully aware, fully involved; knowing when to let go and when to get going. We often find ourselves remembering what has gone and living our lives in hindsight when we should be living our lives in “present-sight”. Scripture says, “Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:18). We also tend to live our lives anticipating what is to come. Scripture says, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.” The truth is that when we live in the future, like that, we run the risk of losing out on what today is giving.
My friends, life demands that we live in the present moment, because this is where our life is presently being impacted with consequences for the future. Living in the present moment demands ATTENTION—being aware of things as they are happening in the now-moment, noticing the great and small things happening around us, and taking note of events in our immediate environment. It also demands APPRECIATION—being able to celebrate what we have noticed, love or hate, it does not matter. Finally, it demands ATTENDANCE—being disposed to respond appropriately to what is going on around us. As the saying goes, “It is easy to sit up and take notice but harder is to get up and take action”. Many relationships have been broken and family bonds shattered because people were not paying attention, were not appreciative, and were doing nothing about it. When we do not attend to our attentions, we miss opportunities. May it not be that way with us, Amen!