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Friday, April 18, 2014

To be like Peter: Strong and Dense as a Rock

Jesus trusted the faithful man who was nowhere near perfect.

Lately in my prayer, reflecting on Jesus’ last days, I can’t help but laugh at Peter.  He’s constantly acting before he thinks, messing up, constantly adamant with his words and actions and frequently falls short.  He’s an all-around act-first kind of guy.  I mean, let’s just take a couple examples:

When Jesus walks on water, what does Peter say?  “Lord, if it’s you, call me to come out!”  And unlike any other disciple, he walks out to Jesus against all logic on the ocean water. Miraculously he stays above the surface, then classic Peter, becomes aware of his surroundings, the howling wind and rushing water, panics, falls through, begins to drown, and calls Jesus for help.  

It’s Peter who refuses his feet to be washed by Jesus.  Then once he realizes it will make him clean, he ridiculously exclaims, “Well wash my head and my body, too!”  It’s laughable.  You can almost sense the eye roll from the other disciples.  “There goes Peter again.”

It’s Peter, with two other disciples, who falls asleep on Jesus while he’s in the Garden of Gethsemane.  “Could you not watch for one hour?” Jesus says.  C’mon man!

How often have I fallen asleep before Jesus?

It’s Peter, who over campfire, tells Jesus that he will do anything for Jesus, even die for Him.  Jesus then tells him that Peter will deny him three times before the cock crows.  It is then Peter who later betrays Jesus three times when Jesus could have used his help.

After Jesus’ death, it’s Peter who sees him on the shore, and jumps out of the boat and swims to him.  It’s Peter that has to answer the question, “Do you love me?” three times from Jesus in place of the three times Peter failed him, taking place what can be considered the first Sacrament of Reconciliation in our human history.

And it is Peter, who Jesus trusts to build the church.  It is on this kepha, that I will build this kepha, it is this rock that I will build this rock.  It is Peter to whom Jesus entrusts the keys to the Church.  Peter the sinner, Peter the mistake maker, Peter the fallen.  But also Peter the faithful, Peter the obedient, and Peter the repentant.  Peter our first pope and the beginning of the apostolic succession.

How many times have I failed over and over and over again?  How many times have I come short each and every day?  How many times do I fall way short of the perfection I strive for at times?  

And yet, Jesus loves, Jesus entrusts, Jesus gives.  Sometimes we wonder how we can earn Jesus’ love or wonder how or why He loves us.  Then I look at babies, especially the daughter of my director at Centro Tepeyac, Sarita.  This six-month-old doesn’t have to do anything, and I love her so.  I imagine that is how our Father must see us.  Like little children, even infants, who deserve to be loved because we simply are.  

Lord, I love you, Lord, I love you, Lord, I love you.  

I’m not worthy of Your sacrifice.  I am forever in debt.  More than words can express my gratitude for what you give me, what you lay out for me.---my wife, my family, my friends, my work, my opportunities.  It’s endless.  Thank you Father.

Thank you God, for the opportunities to be like Peter your faithful servant.  I’m also sorry, Lord, for the times I am also like Peter falling short many times.


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