26th/27th August, 2017
Matthew 16: 13-20
Peter’s Profession of faith
This Gospel shows that the primacy of Peter was not something that was invented by the Church later on. It went right back to the beginning, to the mind and will of Christ himself. His position as the leader of the Twelve is shown in many details in the Gospels. He is presented as the spokesman of the Twelve, and whenever the twelve apostles are listed his name is always first.
Yet the Gospels do not spare Peter, but clearly show the high and low points in his life. No doubt, the lowest when he denied Jesus. The incident related in today’s Gospel (his great profession of faith in Jesus) his finest moment.
Always one to come forward- recognised by Jesus for his leadership qualities – we acknowledge the other side of his character, a weaker and darker-side of which he was not aware. But he would find out about it in time. It proved to be a very humbling and bitter experience for him. It is important that those in positions of leadership be aware of their weaknesses. People who act as if they are infallible make a lot of mistakes and hurt a lot of people.
It is important to remember that the Peter who said ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ was the same Peter who later said, ‘I do not know this man.’ What this tells us is that there was a division within Peter, just as there is a division within each of us. Just as Peter was capable of being courageous at one moment he was cowardly at another moment, and so are we.
Each of us has high and low moments. We must not let our low moments get us down, and we must draw encouragement from our high moments. While we must not forget our weak side, we must try to act out of our strong side. The Lord smiles on us in our good moments and up-holds us in our low moments. The low moments of others should not cause us to put them down or write them off. Their good moments should help us see their potential, and to affirm them and encourage them. In general we are eager to voice our criticisms, but reluctant to give a single word of encouragement, and in this way we bar every road to improvement.
In considering what people are not, we overlook what they are. Better to appreciate what a person has than brood over what they haven’t. We must try to seek the good in everyone, and to reveal it and bring it out, as Jesus did in the case of Peter.
Kind wishes to all.