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Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/contact:larchstar@aol.com

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

March 4, 2007

IMAGE OR REALITY?

Digital cameras have succeeded Polaroids and the Brownie’s. People frequently prefer the image to the real thing; to take a picture rather than enjoy the moment. Travel guides give instructions where to stand to get the best photo. At church baptisms, there are scripture readings to be listened to, prayers to be participated in, symbolic actions to be reflected upon. What happens? Some in attendance move around with their cameras to take pictures, to freeze the moment rather than participate in the moment that is rich in meaning and uplifting in prayer.

Today’s gospel tells of Jesus going up into a high mountain with Peter, James, and John. In a kind of light and sound spectacular, Jesus is transfigured and a voice from heaven affirms Jesus as Son of God. Moses and Elijah have entered the scene. Peter wants to preserve the moment, freeze it in an image, set up three shrines. “Let us make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” If he had a digital camera, he would have taken a picture! But the lights go off; the thunder ceases. Jesus takes them down the mountain. “Let us be about our mission, our real life. No tents, no shrines, no pictures! There are things to be done!”

Jesus tells them, “Tell no one about the vision you’ve just had.” Why? Because he wants men and women to be captured by his message and by the example He gives of care and concern for others, by His manifested love, not by a kind of spectacular sky show! “Don’t base our appeal on this but enter upon real life experience as we worship God together and try to bring comfort and healing to bodies, minds, and spirits of our fellow men and women."

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