POOR PETER

St. Peter is my favorite disciple. He was appointed to lead the apostolic team, and obviously honored greatly in the Early Church and yet the Gospel-writers pull no punches in telling us about Peter’s flaws. In the highly political context in which we seek to live as Christians here in the United States, bloggers eagerly pounce on every error they perceive in our Christian leaders. Often the stories pedaled are over-blown, inaccurate, and their purpose is to demonstrate the virtue of their case. We love to demolish those we oppose.

 

The Gospels – Paul also “withstood Peter to his face” – point us in a different direction. After all Peter’s lapses, even his final denial that he knew Jesus, our Lord tells him to feed his sheep and lambs, the exposed, vulnerable original band of Christians to whom Jesus entrusted the creation of his Church. Peter’s qualification to lead was not based on his talents or suitability, his virtue or freedom from error, but simply on his vocation, his calling.

 

I think of Peter at the Last Supper, as Jesus prepares to wash the feet of his friends, gathered in that Upper Room. When Jesus announces that he is going to be a slave, and wash the feet of the guests, the sort of duty performed by a servant/slave in a wealthy home, Peter objects. I read similar objections on a Facebook page yesterday. Why object? Peter didn’t believe he was worthy and was probably embarrassed. Peter had to learn that the humble offering his Lord was making was not only a lesson about servant leadership, as important as that is. The message is deeper. Jesus was saying to Peter, as he says to his Church, to you and to me, If you are going to do my will you must be prepared to accept the embarrassment which comes when God, whose face you see in me, stoops to touch you, cleanse you, welcome you and feed you. Until we can accept God’s condescension, we will continue to rely on our own ability, or own strength, our own courage. And then we will deny Him and run away.

About these ads

One Response

  1. […] Cross-posted from Shreds and Patches […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers

%d bloggers like this: