(Written by Fr. Carlos Reyes)
Satan has asked that he may sift you all like wheat. But I have prayed for you Peter, that your faith may not fail. And after you have recovered, you are to confirm your brothers in the faith. (Luke 22:31-31)
The faith of Peter. The faith of the Pope. He has come to confirm us in the faith.
I see this as some sort of Transfiguraton. After Jesus’ announcement of his passion, death and resurrection, the disciples were dejected. One week later, Jesus took them to Mount Tabor where they saw the glory of the Lord. Peter wanted to stay in Mount Tabor. Right after he had expressed his wish, the vision disappeared and all they saw was their ordinary and everyday Jesus.
It was not good for Peter to stay on Mount Tabor. The transfiguration was like a shot in the arm meant to strengthen the wavering faith of the disciples so as to give them the perseverance to follow Christ on the road to Calvary.
What was good for Peter was to go down from Mount Tabor and follow Jesus. What was good for Peter was to preach the good news to the poor, cast out demons and heal the sick. What was good for Peter was to weep bitter tears as he contemplated the Master’s passion and death during those terrible days. What was good for Peter was the interminable waiting during those three days that Jesus was in the tomb. What was good for Peter were the tears that he shed because of his threefold denial of the Lord. What was good for Peter was to see and be with the Risen Lord who sent him on a mission to bring the good news to the World. Jesus did not save us on glorious Mount Tabor. Jesus saved us on a lonely hill shaped like a skull. Jesus saved us in dark and bloody Calvary.
Now that the Pope has returned to Rome, it is time for me to go down Mount Tabor and face a world which is immersed in light and shadows. It is time to go the way of Calvary and this is palpably felt just a few days after the Pope’s departure back to Rome.