Sometimes the right thing to say is nothing. Reverent silence is a powerful thing, and our words often get in the way. Saint Peter gives us a great example of this during the Transfiguration in our Gospel passage this Sunday. Peter tries to chime in during the conversation between Jesus and Elijah and Moses. Peter speaks of tents while Moses, Elijah, and Jesus speak of the coming Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus! If the two greatest leaders from your tribe’s history suddenly appeared in conversation with your master amidst a revelation of heavenly glory, why would you interrupt? Shouldn’t we desire more to listen and receive wisdom than to speak and prove our ignorance?
Lest we think ourselves better than Saint Peter, note how often we do the same thing at Mass. We chat with our neighbors instead of listening to the words of God present in the liturgical prayers, readings from Sacred Scripture, and the homily. We offer our time to God by participating at Mass; do we then take it back by ignoring God’s part of the conversation?
Attentive and reverent silence can transform our experience of the Mass. How much more might we receive from God if we would open our hearts instead of our mouths? Silence is part of what makes the Mass transcendent. The Holy Mass is something divine; it needs no running commentary. We can wait to discuss the events of our earthly lives after we have drunk deeply from the wellspring of eternal life. Let us listen to and obey the voice of God: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."