Transformers, they are great toys. They are toys where when we move parts of it around and re aligning the parts, they are changed from one thing to another.
They are - Transformed
Sometimes what we transform is good, like our gardens when we clear out weeds, move them from where they are not wanted, that place then becomes, cleaned, transformed, free to grow the plants we want
Painting and decorating a room can make such a difference, putting our own stamp on a place, transforming a room into our space, often making a house a home.
Yet sometimes what we transform is not always good, we don't take account of why we are transforming something, we just plough on, or we hold on to what is familiar, the things which we like
Which is what we saw Peter doing in our first reading. God had plans for Peter. Remember he was named by Jesus as the rock. Peters name was changed from Simon the fisherman to Peter the Rock. The Rock on whom Jesus built his church.
Peter was transformed by name for a purpose, not just for the sake of it by Jesus.
Jesus didn't just think "Hey - you know what I think you look a lot like a Peter."
Jesus named Simon Peter - because the name means rock - Solid. The solid one on whom Jesus would build his Church.
And yes we know Peter denied Jesus three times, but Jesus already knew peter would deny him, he shared that with Peter prior to the crucifixion. Yet still Jesus called him the rock... Peter ..
He also gave Peter the opportunity again and again to say 'I'm sorry', I will change my ways of being, I will transform.
So in our first reading, just before the piece we read today, Peter had denied God, as God lowered three times a cloth with foods not allowed by the Jewish People, foods which would be a sin to eat. So each time the cloth dropped, Peter denied God, by saying things along the lines of: "You must be kidding God - I ain't eating that stuff - It's not legal for a start."
That denial of Peter gives me hope, hope that even when we deny our Lord, we can still be transformed and transform those whom we meet. If we look further on, we continue to see that God is transforming Peter, as he becomes the one who take the Good News to the Gentiles. Through lowering the cloth, Jesus is showing Peter that the grace, the love, the mercy he offers to Peter is not just for the Jews but for all people - Even the gentiles.
So whilst Peter was denying God - God never let him go - God held on to him - guided him and continued to transform Peters heart...
And then we have Mary - And what transformation has gone on in her life - Both when she was alive and since she has died
Mary the faithful disciple, who watched and waited at the foot of the cross, whilst many others had gone.
Mary misaligned as a prostitute in the 6th century by Pope Gregory The Great as he got confused with the many stories in the bible of many Mary’s..Mary the sister of Martha and the unnamed Mary - a sinner from Luke’s gospel, both of whom wash Jesus’ feet with their hair.
Yet Mary. Magdalene, this faithful disciple of Jesus - the first evangelist - the first person to share the Good News of our Lords resurrection with the disciples has been, misrepresented by the world, which in hindsight is harsh - But our God is in the business of transformation. He always has been and always will be - and even if it has taken theologians until more recently to recognise the error made by pope Gregory. They were able to do so by studying the text of the bible. Looking again and as they looked they saw there is no where within the text that once refers to Mary as a prostitute
Mary has been redeemed again, by the life of Jesus recorded for us in the bible.
We too can redeem people today, by understating, engaging with and sharing the stories of Jesus in the bible. Why? because Jesus is in the business of transformation
Never more so than at Easter, when through what was the finality of his earthly death he transformed for us our earthly death
as a gateway to life…. Life eternal with our Father, through all Jesus did on the cross and in his resurrection we have forgiveness of our sins always when we turn to him. As we look again and again at the life of Jesus and how he lived - how he died - we see the heart of Jesus is to transform our own heart - and whilst the account of Peter and of Mary are personal human transformations - Jesus does something amazing with them - Jesus transforms his Church.
Jesus is showing us even today - again and again - how to transform his church. How to share the gospel in each generation - And I'm sure we are all aware of all he is transforming among us in our Parish. I'm sure we are being shown cloths with new ways being opened before us and our attitude of no!
"No I have always done this"
"I have always cared for this"
"I have always given this"
"I have always …. "
All of those no's will be transformed - are being transformed
I hear those transformations again and again as I have conversations with others
I also hear the no’s.. not always directly - but I do hear the no’s
"the I don't want to do this,"
"I have always done this and will continue to do so."
But… But.. among our no’s and our yes's
We are being called again and again
Just as Peter was
Just as Mary was
When she went looking for the body of Jesus
We are being called again to look for life where we may not expect it.
Remember the voice of God will always say no
When we ignore his desire.
Yet when we follow the sound of his voice guiding us - like Mary, we will recognise him when he calls our name. We will recognise when he says No ... not that way - Or - Yes .. this is the way.
And we have to listen again and again to God, as individuals and as church - most especially in the immediate future as we discern how to be Church - not just now but into the future as far as 2030 and beyond.
And just as Peter was called to eat differently - to go into homes he would not traditionally have done - we too must do the things our Lord reveals to us calls us to.
So that we who know ourselves to be beloved and known called by name - to be his body - His church - may be both transformed - and transforming - meeting others who do not yet know they are beloved - known and called by name.
When we listen - When we experience God doing something -
when we recognise a God moment - a Kairos moment
A time when God is doing something among us
and we respond - then we through Jesus transform lives - Ours and those of whom we are shown we are to minister among - Then just as the first disciples heard the voice of Mary passing on the news of Jesus resurrection - Just as Cornelius heard the voice of Peter speaking to the Gentiles - Passing on the truth of the teaching, the death and the resurrection of Jesus.
We too will be the voice of hope
The voice of change
The voice of transformation
Of his Church
Of our lives
By his guiding
Now and in the future. Amen