In last week’s Gospel, we had the opportunity to see Peter the apostle, and meditate on how among the other disciples he is the one who remarkably testified of the messianic nature of Jesus, and how Jesus exalts his faith. Today we see something totally different. He opposes the plan of salvation.
Among all the disciples the person of Peter is one of the most interesting to study and to reflect on because somehow he is very similar to us. We may identify with him because like him, we may some times be so faithful to God. Like Peter we may be amazing because of the work of God in us, other times because of our own weakness we may show something totally different far away from a disciple of Jesus. He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
Peter is the union of strength and weakness, of absolute faithfulness and denying. He always tries, and I believe that is precisely what makes him who he is. Sometimes he does great, others not so much. His reason is very simple. When he is himself, he is falling, but when he trusts in the Lord he is great. I think that we are the same. The best version of us is one that has the Lord as an important part of our lives because he takes what is ours and make it better.
Peter also understands his sins and mistakes. Even in the middle of them, he still loves Jesus and is completely overcome by remorse and sadness because of his infidelity. But he also understands that no matter how far we are from God, there is always a way back, and there is always someone (God) who is waiting for us to come home.
Among the apostles, he is not the most holy among them, but was chosen to lead the others and lead the church. Why? Because of what the author of the letter to the Hebrews affirmed about Jesus : For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. (This last part applied only to Jesus). (Hb 5:15).
Peter’s life was transformed by the company of Jesus. To became the Saint that we know today, the Peter that from a fisherman, became living everything behind a fisher of men. (Mt 4:19).
Reflecting on Peter’s life, we learn that like him, if we walk in the life in the company of Jesus, with our, ups and downs, and if we never abandon him, we can also become true followers of Christ. And spite of our sins, and failures, we can answer to Jesus as Peter did “Lord you know everything you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17).