Transfiguration of the Lord, Year B
- Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 7:25)
Last Tuesday, early in the morning, as I was walking toward my workplace, I saw from a distance a man coming from the opposite direction. At this early in the morning I had no desire to greet anybody, much less, to engage anyone in a conversation. For this reason, I even tried to avoid having eye contact with him.
But then in the end this man stopped right in front of me. He did not seem to me to be more than thirty years old and it was obvious to me that he had just come out of a convenience store, since he was carrying on his right arm a plastic grocery bag and he had in his hands dollar bills that he must have received as change. Extending his right hand that held a one-dollar bill, he asked, “Would you want to have a dollar?” My quick reply to him was, “This must have something to do with a random act of kindness you want to do, right?” “I am just feeling very good today,” he answered. After hearing that, I took the dollar and put it in my pocket. And soon enough we continued to proceed to where each of us was going.
This is one of three recent occurrences that have helped me keep having confidence in humanity, notwithstanding our inner conflicts and our propensity to evil desires, avarice, vengeance, aggression, violence, wars (cf. Rom. 7:7-25; Jas. 4:1-2).
The other occurrence took place last Monday, when a friend and I visited St. Vincent’s Dining Room, San Rafael, California, to help out there a little bit. Just before leaving after we were done helping, we went to see a dining room employee to invite her to a multicultural picnic at a park. She said she was sorry she would not be able to attend. Then suddenly she pulled out three dollars from a pocket and handed them to me. “This ain’t much,” she said, “but I like to support your multicultural programs; in fact, my daughter and I just benefited over the weekend from one of your programs.” I did not want to accept the money, but I did not want to offend her either. This random act of generosity on the part of someone we wanted to be generous to confirms me in the book of Genesis’ conviction that everything that God had created, without excluding human beings, is good.
And the primordial and basic goodness of human beings stood out for me too one Saturday two weeks ago. I was then at Christian Help Center, Vallejo, California, early in the morning. I mentioned to a center staff that, just as I did once before, I would like to donate to the center an old car that needed some repairs. But when he found out that my wife and I would be parting with an only car and would then have to be taking public buses to get around until we get another car, this gentleman introduced me to a mechanic, a client of the center. Before I knew it, this mechanic and I were headed to our house. And he did not leave until he fixed what needed fixing in the car, charging me very little for all his hard work. I wanted to help, and I ended up being helped instead.
Help was needed by the bridegroom and the bride of that wedding in Cana—of this the mother of Jesus became aware—since they ran short of wine. Without doubt, she is aware too that they have no peace in Qana, Lebanon, in Haifa, Israel, and in other places in the Middle East. For sure, she is interceding for the victims, poor and long-suffering. But are there people today who would do what Jesus tells them and fill the jars, so to speak, with basic, albeit small, acts of kindness and goodness that can be turned into peace? And do we find nowadays folks, like the boy the apostle Andrew found, who would be willing to share their loaves and fish, no matter how few, so that a great crowd can be fed, a crowd of people betrayed unto many a war by their supposed shepherds? Are there believers who would obey the voice from the cloud that says: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Is he being paid attention to today, the Word that gives life, satisfies and transforms, that confirms all prophetic message, and whose dominion is everlasting?
I dare answer “yes” to the questions I have raised; the three recent occurrences give me much hope.