Climbing the Mountain
Opening Question: How many of you have ever made a deal or agreement? What was the deal? What did you have to do? What did the other person have to do?
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a
Moving day arrived and Sabrina’s drooped. In the move, Sabrina would lose best friends, a comfortable house, and a neighborhood she loved. “Why do we have to move?” Sabrina constantly asked her mom. As much as Sabrina asked, she knew the answer. Someone offered her mom a better job with more pay. But to take the job, Sabrina and her family would have to move far away. That was the deal.
Several months later, Sabrina smiled as wide as ever. Her new house was bigger than her old one. She made lots of new friends, including best friends. And new neighbor had more places to explore. “I told you moving would be worth it,” her Mom repeated.
“Yes, it was!” Sabrina agreed.
Like her mom’s deal, Abraham moved a long distance for a better life. He would be blessed with a deal God made with him. He was blessed with land and a people. Because we are God’s people, we are the sons and daughters of Abraham’s promise.
Bridging Question: How do good friends help each other? What do they share?
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
Peter declared Jesus was the Messiah. Six days later, Jesus led Peter, James, and James’ brother John up a mountain, so they could be alone. There, Jesus changed right in front of them. His face shined like the sun. And his clothes were as white as sunlight. Suddenly, the three followers saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. Peter spoke up, “Lord! We’re lucky to be here! If you want, I’ll pitch three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While Peter was speaking, suddenly a light-filled cloud covered them. Just as suddenly, a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is the Son I love. He pleases me. So listen to him.”
When they heard the voice, the three followers were so afraid, they fell down and put their faces on the ground. Jesus came up and touched them. “Don’t be afraid. Get up!” Jesus said. When they looked up, they didn’t see anyone else but Jesus. As they climbed down the mountain, Jesus gave them an order. “Don’t tell anyone what you saw until God raises the Son of Man from the dead.”
You can really get to know friends by the people they hang around with.
At school, Frank knew lots of people. He hung out with the athletes, the brains, and the kids involved in student government. Frank always had a good word and a quick smile to share with anyone he met.
One day, Jesse arrived at school. As the new kid, Jesse didn’t know many people at first. But, in no time at all, Jesse knew Frank. And, through Frank, Jesse quickly made new friends.
While Frank was friendly, he didn’t do well in Language Arts. Reading bored him. Writing was a chore. Giving public speeches scared him. Jesse, however, did well in Language Arts. He loved to read about new people, new places, and new adventures. Give Jesse a chance to write or give a talk and he would deliver.
One day, Jesse sat quietly engrossed in a book. Frank came up, greeted him and asked, “What are you reading?” Jesse’s eyes grew wide as he described the characters, the plot, and the action of the book. “What happened next?” Frank asked.
“I don’t know,” Jesse replied. “I haven’t finished the book.”
“When you get done reading it,” Frank said, “loan it to me. I want to know how the book ends, too.”
From that point on, Frank and Jesse shared books. Just as Frank opened a new world up to Jesse, Jesse did the same for Frank. Frank was just as hungry a reader as Jesse. And both boys became deeper friends.
Jesus took his friends up to the mountain top so they could meet Moses and Elijah. Moses gave Israel the Law and Elijah was the first of the prophets. Both were great men from the Bible. Jesus wanted all his friends to read their stories and others from the Bible.
But Jesus wanted his friends to meet someone greater, his heavenly Father. They didn’t have to climb a mountain or hear a voice boom from the clouds like thunder to meet God. They just needed to look into the face of Jesus to see God’s love. They just needed to listen to Jesus so they could hear the Word of God. In Jesus, Peter, James, and John met God.
Closing Question: Who has helped you meet God? Whom have you helped to meet God?