Transformation with St. Peter
St. Peter always gives the Church an incredible example of following Jesus Christ. His path illuminates our journey of following Christ. Throughout the liturgical year, the figure of St. Peter shows us how to follow Christ and heed his call.
St. Peter begins as just an ordinary man, minding his own business. He works manual labor and probably helps run his family fishing business. From the early interactions with Jesus (Luke 5:1-11 and John 1:35-42), it seems like Peter is a man of faith; an observant Jew trying to live his faith. He isn’t too different from us, trying to live our Catholic faith and experiencing all the trials and joys of daily life.
His life will take a dramatic turn after the miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1-11). Peter is overwhelmed by this miracle; Luke says that he is astonished at the catch of fish and tells Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Peter has a deep encounter with the Lord. His faults and shortcomings are laid bare and he knows that he is unworthy of the glory of God.
Hopefully we have moments like this in our life. Moments where God’s presence, grandeur, and glory is before us. He lets us experience our shortcomings, so that we may know his glory. We have these powerful encounters with Christ in prayer, in the Sacred Scriptures, and in the Sacraments. Christ is reaching out to us in our unworthiness.
Peter’s unworthiness and shortcomings are seen throughout the Gospels. He tries to dissuade Jesus from the cross (Mark 8:31-33), he drowns when walking on water (Matthew 14:29-32), and denies Christ three times. In all of these shortcomings, Jesus doesn’t condemn Peter or toss him aside. He encourages Peter, forgives his sins, and strengthens him. Even after Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him three times, Jesus tells Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen you brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).
Even amidst Peter’s shortcomings, he is drawn into a band of brothers, the disciples of Jesus Christ. Peter experiences Christ alongside the other apostles. They live together, learn from Jesus Christ, and witness the Lord’s work. Jesus’ school of life for St. Peter, and us, isn’t private tutoring. He draws us into the Church so that the entire Body of Christ may grow.
Finally St. Peter is sent out as a fisher of men. The man who fished for bluegill is now sent out to fish for souls. This is our path too, once we’ve encountered Christ, let Him heal our sinfulness, and form us in the Church, He sends us out to bring others. Christ sends us, like He sent Simon Peter, to bring others to Jesus Christ.
Part of this journey is encountering the mercy of God. Maybe we’ve mentioned it ad nauseam, but here is the schedule for the final Day of Grace and two Nights of Mercy:
– Thursday, March 31 – St. John, Fryburg – 7pm-9pm
– Tuesday, April 5 – St. Joseph, Wapakoneta – 6am-10pm
– Monday, April 11 – St. Lawrence, Rhine – 7pm-9pm
May the Lord strengthen you on your Lenten journey.
Finally I know that some may have questions about the Mass schedule that was released last week. I’m preparing a long written explanation. It may be completed by this Sunday. If you would like a copy, please email or call my assistant, Grace. The office number is (419)-738-2115 and the email address is email@example.com.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson