Gospel Matthew 17:1-9

“… He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow”

Peter. What a lad.

Quite often a smirk will creep across my face when I read of Peter’s words and actions as relayed in the Gospels. His child-like bravado seems to put him in situations that has him saying or doing things that are oftentimes pretty silly.

Here we have a truly wonderful and mysterious scenario unfolding. Jesus takes his three closest companions with him up the mountain, where he is miraculously transfigured. James and John, are suitably in humbled and silent awe, but Peter cannot contain himself. He just blurts out ‘How good is this!?’ And truly, it is. But, like that awkward younger brother or ‘special’ uncle, Peter simply cannot contain himself. He steps forward and blurts out the obvious, and then brings forward the suggestion, ‘hey, let’s build some tents and just hang out here’, presumably for an indefinite time.

Instead of attempting to be cool, aloof, or emotionally detached, Peter is forthright in his acknowledgement of the amazing things that he is experiencing. His child-like sense of wonder cuts right through the facade of the calm and considered behaviour of those who try to remain ‘proper’ at all times. Instead, he cannot contain his joy and amazement. His lack of filter in fact allows him to experience reality more readily.

Up the mountain with Jesus, Peter and the others had a profound experience, one which would no doubt strengthen them to live through the tremendously difficult times which lay before him.

We can be grateful that there are people like Peter who are not afraid to experience reality with such unadulterated vigour. Perhaps we can pray for such unbridled enthusiasm to animate our lives also.

Point to Ponder

“In the Gospel, there is a sentence that expresses the same ethical imperative in a more fascinating way: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: the reign of God is theirs” (Matt. 5:3). But who are the poor? The poor are those who have nothing to defend, who are detached from those things that they seem to possess, so that their lives are not dedicated to affirming their own possession.”

― Luigi Giussani, The Religious Sense