our ordinary conversation we use the word face surprisingly often.
We may say that somebody had a long face. I did not really know what
that expression meant till one day I met a fellow priest who had been
robbed of his suitcase. While bargaining with a taxi driver about
his fare someone else had walked off with his bag. You should have
seen his face as he told the story - it seemed a meter long. Normally,
our faces really tell what is inside us.
we say that someone is 'double faced' we imply that they are dishonest
or false in their relationships. It is a very serious accusation to
make about anyone. If we say that someone is faceless we mean that
they hardly seem to exist. The truth is that we have many faces and
this is a natural part of being a human being. At different times
we wear the face of: happiness or sadness, courage or fear, peace
or unrest, hope or despair, joy or pain, friendship or hostility.
This is all very natural.
we are afraid of 'losing face,' of being made to appear bad before
others. In the Philippines smooth interpersonal relationships
(SIR) have a very high value which often makes us hide our true feelings
to avoid offending others. We can wear the smile that covers the pain.
We can wear a mask. While wearing a mask may sometimes be socially
necessary it is very unhealthy as a permanent condition. The word
sincere come from the Latin words sine and cera, which mean without
wax. It comes from the time when actors wore masks made of wax to
cover their true faces. Hiding our true selves not only makes us false
people but also makes us sick people. It can cause high blood pressure,
asthma, ulcers as well as headaches and allergies.
St. Luke tells us in today's Gospel that as Jesus prayed on Mount
Tabor 'the aspect of his face was changed.' He was transfigured before
the eyes of his three disciples and they were overcome with joy. This
was to be a beautiful memory that would sustain them in the more difficult
times ahead. The face Jesus showed on Tabor was indeed a very special
one but not his only one. Christ had all the faces that we have, except
the false ones. His face often betrayed weariness as when he fell
asleep in the boat. It showed disappointment when the Nazarenes rejected
him and when the nine lepers failed to thank him. It showed compassion
when he saw the people who were like sheep without a shepherd. It
showed sadness when he cried at the grave of his friend Lazarus.
Tabor Christ gave the disciples a glimpse of his inner glory. He was
the New Moses - the new law-giver. He was the new Isaiah - the one
who spoke the word of God. He was the Word made flesh, the God who
had come amongst us, in whom the Father was well pleased. On this
occasion the true nature of Jesus showed on his face. This memory
was necessary to sustain their faith when he went through his passion.
face of Jesus always showed who he truly was. On Tabor he was the
divine Son of God; in Gethsemane he was a frightened human being whose
face sweated blood as he was denied even human companionship. To be
Christians we are called to be who we truly are; God touched but frail.
Sometimes we have a glimpse of our being God touched. More often we
are all too aware of our frailness.
meditation we sit still just saying our prayer word. We are in no
way trying to manipulate or control reality. We are trying to be with
and face reality; the reality of our giftedness and the reality of
our sinfulness. We are allowing the image of God in our hearts to
emerge and show on our faces and in the actions of our hands. This
is our Christian task at all times but especially during this period