A PORTRAIT OF PETER – A REFLECTION OF OURSELVES
A few weeks ago, I read a reflection about the apostle, Peter, the rock upon which Christ built His Church. I couldn’t help but identify with him and thought you might also.
Peter’s life as a fisherman was changed into the life of a fisher of men. We, too, have been through many changes in our lives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Americans change jobs an average of twelve times in their lifetime. We seem to spend a lot of time moving from one job to another.
While Peter didn’t move around that much, he certainly learned to listen to the Words of Jesus and questioned what Jesus was teaching. He learned of the powers of Jesus firsthand to heal his mother-in-law and others. Peter was a courageous apostle, but he was also a victim of his own fears. Remember his cries to be saved from drowning as he walked on the water toward Jesus during the storm? Or at the Last Supper when he boldly proclaimed to Jesus: I shall never deny you, Lord, only to do just that very thing in the garden shortly after, and then fled leaving Jesus alone after he was arrested.
Peter was not naturally the Rock, but a weak and human like you and me. Jesus prayed for Peter, as He does us, “that your faith may not fail.” Jesus believed in Peter. After asking him to proclaim his Love for Jesus, Peter finally said: Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you. Each time I read those words my heart is overwhelmed with my love for Jesus because I know and believe as Peter did.
During the years as the early Christian community developed, Peter, infused with courage from the Holy Spirit, announced the Good News of Jesus to the people and never stopped. He was arrested because of this courageous proclamation after the resurrection and forbidden to announce this Good News. But strengthen with his courage and faith Peter did not obey the prohibition. He said: We must obey God rather than man!
Tradition tells us that at the end of his life, while in Rome, Peter had another moment of fear. But he began to preach again, and was arrested and condemned to death on the cross. He asked that he be crucified with his head down because he was not worthy to die in the same way as his Master. Peter was true to himself and to Jesus to the very end.
Join me in thinking often of Peter's actions in our times of weakness, fear and failures and remember: God DOES write straight with our crooked lines!