Flight Safety Instructions

Flight Safety Instructions to Heaven

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If you have ever been on a plane, I am sure you have heard the instructions at the beginning of the flight where the flight attendant begins to tell you all the important things that you should know if the plane goes down. They always begin with pointing to the exits. They will tell everyone, and I will tell you, where the nearest exits are should there be a fire in case of an emergency. There is an exit on your left, an exit on your right, and two fire exits in the back. They always do it with four fingers, like this, because it is universal around the world. Sometimes it is rude to point, or improper to point, so it is four fingers, I have been told. Your exits are here and here. Should there be any turbulence during this Mass, you will notice in front of your pews there are some cards available.

You have your classic “barf bag” in case you get sick during the homily or nauseous, and also your flight instructions. For those of you that are Catholic, these will be your Missalettes and the Creed in front of you. They also tell you, of course, that should you do a water landing or as I like to say a crash landing into the water, vests are available. Put the inflatable vest around your neck (oh and I want to pull this is so bad) and then you get to pull a chord. Should that not work, there is a straw on here somewhere. You can blow it up. You better have a lot of breath while you’re sinking in the water. Then, after that just in case you do not know how to use one of these, this is called a seat belt. They make sure to show you how to buckle your belt every time and unbuckle your belt just in case you did not know. Then, my favorite one is when the oxygen masks come down. They would not give me an oxygen mask. I wanted so bad just to take one from the plane. The oxygen mask comes down and you might not notice there may not be oxygen appearing to flow through the mask, but we assure you it is. If you are children or you are traveling with children, we are sorry. If you are traveling with more than one child, please make sure that you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then pick the brighter of your children and put the second oxygen mask on them. I love traveling with Southwest because they at least made this humorous, right? Finally, they are giving you all these instructions, and what is everybody usually doing while they are giving you these important safety instructions? Noise cancelling headphones, iPhones, iPads, magazines, whatever it is right because you have heard this before; you have seen this before. You do not need to hear it again.

Today Jesus is giving us this very important revelation. Sometimes we come to Mass and we feel like we have seen this before; we’ve heard it before. We do not need to hear about it again. Every Mass is giving us these life saving instructions. The reality is, for all of us, we are going to face death. At some point, our plane is going to go down. It is so important to know and be able to hear His voice. Jesus takes the disciples. He ascends with them to this high mountain and He transfigures. His face becomes radiant white as snow that we hear in The First Reading. Like the sun we hear in The Gospel. They are so blown away that Peter says, “Lord let us stay here. Let us build three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. Then the clouds begin to wrap around Him and all of a sudden they hear the glory of God’s voice saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him. Listen to Him.” With that the disciples are so blown away that the literally fall to the floor in prostration. They are just knocked down before the power of God. It is so important that we listen to Him. You see, at every Mass we hear the Word of God booms from the ambo. We hear the word of God in The Readings. Are you listening? Are you really paying attention? Are you hanging on every word? They are some lifesaving words. Throughout the entire Mass, the priest is like the flight attendant. Our arms are always gesturing, moving us in prayers to God the Father. Are you listening? Are you looking for the glory of God in Mass? Another word for transfiguration is metamorphis. In the Eucharist, and all of us actually, there’s a metamorphosis that happens. The bread and wine are changed and transformed, into The Body and Blood of Christ. His glory is right here at Mass. I think sometimes we come to Mass just like we do when we are flying. We do not really pay attention. We do not even grab our missalettes. We are not really ready to experience the glory. This metamorphosis, this transfiguration, happens at every Mass for you like it happened for the disciples. They heard from God, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” They were so amazed, they fell to the floor, and the Lord came and touched them and said, “Do not be afraid.” Maybe you come to Mass sometimes you feel like, “I have done this before. I have been here before. I do this every Sunday.” Just like the flight attendant or priest talking, it is nothing new. At every Mass there is a tremendous lifesaving message. The Lord wants you to experience eternal life. He wants you to experience heaven. He wants you to experience the way to heaven. He has shown you His glory. He shows you His glory at every Mass. It is so important that we listen to Him.

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.