Put yourself in Peter’s place.
God had already revealed to him that Jesus was the Messiah (Luke 9:20). And now he is standing with James and John, watching Jesus’ appearance change before his eyes.
Even though he knew in his heart who Jesus is, he must have been stunned to see this transformation. It surely renewed his determination to follow Jesus. Coming down the mountain, he undoubtedly felt that nothing could shake his resolve.
Still, it was only a short time later that Peter abandoned his lofty goal and joined the other disciples in an argument about who was the greatest among them (Luke 9:46-48). And when Jesus’ passion was at hand, Peter denied three times that he even knew the Lord—after protesting that he would follow Jesus even to prison and death (22:33-34). Peter eventually did become the “rock” on which Jesus built his Church, but it certainly didn’t happen overnight!
Isn’t this the story of our lives as well? We have all had times of transfiguration—and perhaps there is no better example of this than receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. For a few moments after Communion, we feel consoled by his grace and presence. It seems we are on the mountaintop with him. But when we get back to reality, we find we are still basically the same person. We may be a little more charitable or a little more forgiving, but we still have parts of our lives that need to be converted.
You may call this a depressing thought. But really, it’s a grace! For it is then we realize how much we need Jesus, and how much more transformation we can still experience. Seeing where we still fall short doesn’t have to drive us away from the Lord. If anything, it should push us closer to him. It should move us to receive him with more hope and more trust in his grace. So the next time you are at Mass, look closely at what you are about to receive. Under the veil of bread and wine, Jesus is there, radiant with his Father’s love. His arms are outstretched ready to embrace you. Come to him—and let him keep changing you!
“Lord, it is good to be with you at Mass. Help me always to stay open to the transforming power of your grace.”