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Perhaps many of us have a favourite photo of ourselves at a particular occasion, with particular people, or at a particular time in our lives.

. I have a favourite photo that I have always had in my room for almost thirty years. It was taken, on my tripod, after I had arrived in Bolivia. The reason for liking the photo is not that I am thirty years younger and quite a few pounds lighter, but that it was taken at the highest point of land that I have ever walked on. I went with two members of our Parish team out to our furthest village, Santiago de Collana, about an hour and a half from our Parish Church. While they were busy with ministry, I took some time to climb the big hill behind the village. It was higher than I thought, and it probably took me about an hour. When I got there, it was a stupendous sight. On the one side, I looked down past the village to the valley and back up the other side to majestic snow-capped Mount Illimani. From the other side I looked down thousands of feet to the lower valley with its fervent pastures and running river, and then back up the other side to the altiplano, the high flat plateau over fourteen thousand feet above sea level. I was looking down (or at least I had the impression) at the altiplano, so I was over fourteen thousand feet above sea level. It was an experience I have never forgotten the awe and majesty of the sights. Mountains and high places are significant in our readings this weekend. Indeed, mountains and high places are significant in the story of salvation. Last week I mentioned how, during the sojourn of forty years of the Israelites through the desert, God gave to Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. In the First Reading, tonight/today (Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18) God calls Abraham to a height. There he was to kill his son, Isaac, as God ordered. Of course, we know that God provided a ram to replace Isaac. In the gospel (Mark 9:2-10) Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up Mount Tabor with him. There he is gloriously transfigured, and he is revealed to them as the Son of God. The voice of the Father imagine, the voice of the Father says, This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. Mountains and high places were seen as significant places of encounter with God. Upon the heights one encountered God. Last week Jesus called us out into the desert, and this week he calls us to climb the mountain with him. Once again, we dont need an airline ticket or a passport, because it is a spiritual journey, and inner journey. Just as in the desert one is alone and isolated, so too the mountain experience is one of being alone and isolated being alone with God, and isolated from the distractions and noise of everyday life. Just as Jesus revealed himself to Peter, James and John, he wants to reveal himself to us. The glory of the Lord is evident in the transfiguration. His clothes were dazzling white. He is seen with Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. In our busy day, our busy lives and our busy world it is not easy to find that mountain to be alone with God with-out and within. During our day, in our home, or in an isolated place, we can and should separate ourselves

from activity to commune with God. There, in prayer, God can reveal himself to us and we can experience his presence. We may not see him transfigured, or Moses and Elijah, but we may see in prayer through the grace of the Holy Spirit more closely who is our God. There we may hear the voice of God in our heart and spirit, calling us to Listen to him. Sometimes we cant hear him because of the din of noise around us. Sometimes we cant hear him within because of the noise and confusion there. We have to climb the mountain, separating ourselves even for a short period of time to be with God. He comes down to us on that high place but we have to climb up to meet him. Are we up to the journey? Are we willing to Listen to him. During the Lenten journey, prayer is essential to make this a time of grace. In responding to Gods call to conversion, prayer is of utmost important. That will be the manner in which God will speak to us, and one of the ways together with our concrete actions that we will respond to him. Our Second Reading from St. Paul to the Romans (8:31b-34) gives us hope, as it assures us that we are his chosen ones, and that he protects and guides us. Indeed, If God is for us, who can be against us? Perhaps a central question for each of us, in relation to this gospel is do we WANT to listen to him? Do we want to open ourselves to Gods revelation, because it may mean a change in our lives in our priorities, our values and attitudes, our choices and our actions? Do we believe it is worth climbing the mountain to meet Jesus there, or will we only encounter him on our terms? Will we recognize him if he reveals his glory to us? During our Lenten journey we are definitely in the drivers seat. God cannot force us to climb the mountain, seeking out that place and time of peace and quiet. He cannot force us to listen. He cannot force us to respond. Let us climb the heights and encounter him there. He is waiting!