In an upcoming movie to be released in November, 2019, Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It is a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After Junod is assigned to do a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism and learns about empathy, kindness and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.
Fred Rogers always enjoyed telling the story about being on vacation and visiting a new church with some friends. Fred sat there listening to a god-awful sermon. When it finally ended, he turned to one of his friends, intending to say many critical things about the sermon. He was stopped short when he saw tears pouring down his friend’s face. The friend whispered to Fred Rogers, “He said exactly what I needed to hear!” A God Whisper
Twice in the life of Jesus, God the Father tells him exactly what he needs to hear. When Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River, God the Father speaks and says, “You are my beloved son, I am well pleased with you.” Jesus was 30 years old, beginning his public ministry and greatly in need of affirmation from the one who meant the most to him – his Father in heaven.
In today’s Gospel (Luke 9:28-36) Jesus begins his journey to the cross. On Mount Tabor, God the Father again speaks: “This is my chosen Son, listen to him.” A God Whisper
At the age of 30, Jesus begins a new and important time of his life. In the Jordan River he presents himself before God the Father and asks: “What do you want from me?” He learns that he must have a public life filled with teaching, healings and miracles.
At his Transfiguration in today’s Gospel he learns about his cruel death and resurrection that will be coming soon.
Everyone of us today is at a different and important phase of our lives. We’re in school, single, making a living, raising a family, married, living alone, retired, caring for a loved one or struggling with health issues. As with Jesus, we need to ask the Father, “What do you want from me, Lord, at this time of my life?”
God says to each one of us when we really listen with all of our attention, “You are my beloved son, daughter, I am well pleased with you! Listen to me!
God may well be telling us to set a good example for someone else, or to harness the demons that afflict us, start something new or walk the extra mile, turn the other cheek, and endure what we are going through without complaining. Surely we will slip and fall, but God is always there to help us. This is a Lenten moment to think about and to pray over.
God Provides for Those God Guides. But God cannot provide for us if we will not let God guide us. This is often our biggest problem with God. We want God to provide for us, but God can’t. Why? Because we have not allowed God to guide us to where we need to be in our life so God can provide for us. We must have God as our GPS.
One day I noticed a picture hanging crookedly on my living room wall. I went over and pushed up the side that was low. I stepped back and decided that the picture was straight. I left the living room feeling good about getting things to look the way they should.
The next day I walked through my living room. I was surprised to see the picture was once again hanging crookedly. Once again, I pushed up the side hanging low and walked away.
The next day, it was crooked again. What’s going on? Then it dawned on me that there was only one nail on the wall holding up the picture. No matter what I did, it was crooked. A God Flash
So I took down the picture and put another nail in the wall. That second nail made all the difference in the world. The picture is now level and centered on the hook.
So it is with the different stages of our lives. Without Jesus right next to us, our lives will be off balance. Without Jesus at our side, our lives will never be centered.
No one else will ever see that extra nail in our lives. People only see the picture and the frame of our lives.
But Jesus sees that extra nail. He was a carpenter for almost 30 years.
Jesus gives us the nails of his cross so that we might center the picture of our lives.