Homily – March 17, 2019

According to John’s gospel Andrew, a disciple of John the Baptist, was the first to be curious about Jesus and accepted Jesus invitation to spend some time with him. Andrew was so taken with Jesus he went to his brother Simon claiming ‘we have found the Messiah.’ He brought Simon to Jesus who named Simon, Peter. Later on Jesus called James and John to follow him.

We can imagine that one day Jesus said to Peter, James and John,’ walk with me’ Simple enough invitation. But that walk up the mountain side changed their friendship with Jesus. They saw him no longer as a man calling people to a closer friendship with God but as a man transformed, his face changed, his cloths dazzling white. Moses the lawgiver and Elijah the prophet talking with him about his future destiny in Jerusalem. Wonder of wonders God claiming Jesus to be God’s son, God’s chosen one. No wonder Peter blurted out, ‘Lord it is good for us to be here.’

Sometime after that event on the mountain Jesus again invited Peter, James and John. ’Walk with me.’ This time the walk was not up a mountain but into a garden, actually and olive grove called Gethsemane. There was no glory, there was fear, there was pleading as Jesus sweat blood and begged,’ Father if it is possible let this chalice pass. This time there was no voice from heaven, only silence.

There will be times in our lives when we are invited to ‘walk with me.’

And be given an insight into how we are blessed with good health, a happy marriage, sons and daughters who make you proud. We have a job or career that challenges us and we are blessed with good friends. We know we are blessed and a sense of thanksgiving wells up within us. We have a sense we are close to God and God is close to us. On walks like these we can say from our hearts, ‘Lord it is good to be here.’

And there can be other times when we are invited ‘walk with me’ and it is not a sunny day. Our walk is into a dark place, a worrisome place, an unknown place. Gethsemane. We may be anxiously awaiting test results, the future looks grim. We may be concerned about our jobs or how we can pay those credit cards. Maybe our Gethsemane that day is deciding to hand over the keys to the car or deciding on whether or not to go to a place of assisted living. We have to decide on whether or not to give up our mobility, our independence. Hard choices. Maybe our walk with the Lord in the time we decide on the health of a relationship we are in, or how we can seek help to deal with an addiction with which we struggle. This is not a walk in the park; it is a walk in the dark.

On the mountain Peter blurted out, ‘It is good for us to be here.’ He didn’t say that in Gethsemane. Peter was frightened and confused seeing Jesus in such a state of struggle. He really didn’t want to be there.

Every day, in one way or another or whether we hear it or not, we are invited, ‘walk with me’. Our walk might be up a mountainside on a sunny day or it might be on a gloomy day into a gloomy place. Each walk offers its own possibilities. We walk with one who knew the splendor of the mountain and the dread and struggle of the garden. But as the song reminds us, ’we never walk alone.’