Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 6th, 2011
Department of Journalism
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If anyone had his life transformed by meeting Jesus, it was surely St. Peter, who left his fishing boat and nets to follow a prophet who offered to make him a fisher of men. Today I’m drawn to Peter’s role in the Transfiguration because I see him as our surrogate witness at the event.
Here was a guy that those of us with rural or blue-collar backgrounds can relate to – tough, practical, and no-nonsense like the people we grew up with. Peter was no mystic but a man like my dad who never went anywhere, including church, without his pocket knife, just in case he needed it.
Of COURSE Peter’s first thought on seeing Jesus, Moses and Elijah together was to offer to build three tents. What else would be more USEFUL? He was probably already looking around to see what he could find to work with and halfway annoyed when God interrupted to say: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” Right in the middle of starting a project! Darn!
Years later as Peter was dictating his letter (since I doubt he could write), he must have been thinking of the Transfiguration when he told the early Christians that “we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it.” Peter could state that Jesus’ message was “altogether reliable” because he had BEEN at the Transfiguration, had heard the voice of God and had seen what happened with his own two skeptical eyes. This was no myth that he had picked up from some otherworldly dreamer and Peter knew that his audience knew this. In today’s lingo, he had street cred.
I find myself focusing on Peter for a more theological reason as well. While helping one of my children with an assignment on the Transfiguration years ago, I read that Jesus’ revelation of his divinity to his lower class disciples symbolizes that He came for common people rather than the wealthy and the powerful. It touches me that at one of the sublime moments in the New Testament, we were represented not by a big wig from the Temple but by a man who reminds me a lot of my father.
to the writer of this reflection.
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