March 12, 2017
Coconuts were hollowed out, filled with nuts or other monkey delicacies, and then tied to a tree. A hole big enough for a monkey’s hand was cut in each coconut. The monkeys would come and reach into the coconuts for food, but the holes were crafted such that although a flexible hand could fit in, a fist could not be pulled out. By holding on to the nuts, the monkeys essentially became trapped—trapped by their attachment and clinging to the food. All they had to do was let go to free themselves, but their minds trapped them.
God's blessing to humanity is given as an invitation to Abram to journey, to take the risk of 'letting go' of all that is secure and familiar, to journey into the unknown. What is striking about Abram's 'yes' response to faith in God is its swiftness. There is no sense of the caution or self-protection that characterises our contemporary world. Abram entrusts himself to God, and this entrusting brings blessings to all. What caused Abram's entrusting? Abram knew God, he knew he could 'let go' of the things that made up his world, his family, his house. 'Letting go' is central to saying 'yes' to God. This is true for every individual. Science and technology propose solutions to problems, solutions which now threaten human existence; as consumers we ourselves are consumed by the endless promise of immediate fulfilment. What could we become if we 'let go' of this? This is a loving uncompromising challenge which reaches its deepest level in the call of Jesus to discipleship.
In each reading this week we see God's call to a person, Abram, Paul, Jesus, Peter, James and John, in their particular time and history. God's call comes into our present, makes demands on our present, and draws us towards our future destiny of sharing Christ's glory. Saying 'yes' to God, entrusting ourselves to God, offers us the fullness of new life through challenges. Humanity is no stranger to challenges. Life and death, pain and healing, positive and negative, are bound together. We must lift our imaginations, hearts and minds to 'see' Jesus' glory. Like Peter we need to recognize what God offers us now so as to be empowered to do what God has called us to. At the point in the Gospel where Jesus is seen in his glory, God the Father identifies Jesus as his Son Jesus' eyes are fixed on the activity which will bring about his resurrection.
At the moment of Jesus' fleeting Transfiguration the focus shifts away to the cross which will bring about the resurrection. Jesus' surrender to the Father he knows, meets God's response to him. Jesus' surrender to the Father, his ultimate trusting in God in 'letting go' of his life, confers God's richest blessing of immortal life. Knowing God, listening to him, and trusting him, empower us to 'let go'. Jesus takes on the ultimate risk of self-annihilation, the ultimate 'letting go', and finds therein total acceptance and unity with God.
What should you and I “let go”? A recently widowed lady just let go of her beautiful farm where she lived the last 25 years. She felt painful. It is sad to let go of the material things but if we don’t let go of ourselves, we let go of nothing. 'Letting go' transforms our lives, heals us at the depth of our being, and brings us new freedom. This is the journey on which we are challenged to embark.