Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want." Ps. 23:1
“Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” Mt. 16:16
The church today celebrates Christ choosing Peter to be the primary authority and servant to the church. It might seem after a cursory reading through of the Gospels that Peter is a peculiar choice to lead the church Jesus is building. He is often shown to be impetuous, bumbling, doubtful, and infamously cowardice. These are hardly qualities one looks for in today’s leaders. However, what makes Peter so endearing is his eagerness to love beyond his own humanity and shortcomings and his openness to allowing Jesus to embrace and work through him.
I would love nothing more than to fully live the Psalmist’s verse, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” There have been handful of moments I have been graced with the self-forgetful awareness of a oneness with God, and there was nothing I would have preferred over Him during those beautiful moments. But more often than not, my ego craves recognition and praise, my bodily desires surge upon me, my skeptical mind demands and doubts. How am I to resolve what seems contradictory to a total trust in God?
Perhaps St. Peter can be a model for us in moments where we wrestle with our fallible humanity. St. Peter does not ask Jesus to fix him or make him perfect so he can tend the flock of faithfuls. He does not let his limitations and inadequacies be an obstacle to his vocation. He embraces Jesus’s love for him and allows it to flow through the weaknesses. When we stop fighting with what we perceive as hang-ups within ourselves and allow God to be present in our struggles and love us in our totality, we experience more freedom to be our true selves and live out our calling as St. Peter had.
Lord God, through the example and intercession of St. Peter, may we be opened to your unconditional love beyond, and perhaps because of, our humanity to more joyfully and graciously live out your dreams for us.