August 06, 2017
I was intently listening to a conversation with a family – 3 generations talking about turtles on the beach in Venice, Florida. The small turtles break through the sand at night and claw & crawl their way to the sea. They spend 2-3 years in the relative safety of their food source of green seaweed off the coast and then venture forth into the ocean. Years later (35) they return to this exact beach, climb ashore and lay eggs for a new batch of turtles. Locals and visitors are keenly protective of these creatures. Off shore artificial lighting is shaded or directed away from the sand to allow the turtles to navigate. Does their inner GPS catch the light of the moon & stars or is it the gravitational pull of earth & moon? Volunteers keep vigil and place flags were the eggs are buried in the sand. No one should offer help to the turtles making their way to the water because human intervention will disrupt the turtle’s navigation compass. I was captivated listening to the story of these amazing turtles. It shows even a small creature becomes a sacrament of the creator.
Jesus takes Peter, James & John (not to the seashore but) up a mountain. There Jesus is transfigured. His face shines like the sun and his clothes appear white as light. God’s glory is revealed. Behold, Moses & Elijah appear conversing with Jesus. The disciples are filled with awe and fear. Then they hear God’s voice: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Peter, James & John will keep the vision & voice inside as they journey down the mountain slope with Jesus. It will become a sustaining memory when they experience the horror of the cross. Jesus is a sacrament or sign of God’s sacrificial and redemptive love for humanity.
Like Peter, James & John, we need to keep the vision of Jesus and the voice of God within us as we face the challenges that come to disciples who wish to inaugurate the Kingdom of Heaven. Like the turtles on the beach in Venice crawling to the sea we will catch the attention of others and reveal the mystery of God’s providential care. Like the turtles too, as we venture forth into the deep, we hope eventually to find our way home.
17th Sunday Ordinary
20th Sunday Ordinary