Building Upon The Rock Of St. Peter

It is time again for our most favorite of feasts, the celebration of our patron, St. Peter. Father Steven and I hope that everyone can join us for a fun-filled celebration.

St. Peter was an intriguing fellow. I am constantly drawn to St. Peter, because I can see so much of myself in his struggle for holiness. I thought it would be useful to look at some of the highs and lows of St. Peter’s journey of faith, as we celebrate the patron saint of our parish.

A simple life. Saint Peter was a fisherman by trade. This was difficult and somewhat dangerous work in Christ’s day, and remains so today. The fisherman casts his net into the sea, hoping that fish will swim into the net and become dinner for the fisherman and for those who will buy his fish.   Peter came from a working class of people, who relied on the sea to provide for their livelihood. We recall how Jesus approached Peter and Andrew, with an invitation to become “fishers of men.” While I suspect they didn’t know exactly what they were signing up for, they nonetheless dropped everything to follow Christ. Peter was an uncomplicated guy who lived a simple life. He was a beautiful example for all of us to follow.

He watched and learned. Peter was never far from Jesus. As Jesus went through the towns preaching and healing, Peter and the other apostles were there to learn from the Teacher about how to be fishers of men. Peter was there when Jesus gave His famous Sermon on the Mount before hoards of people, who were hungry for the Word of God. Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law, taught Peter what it was like to walk on water (in other words, to have complete trust in God) and calmed the storm. One of Peter’s shining moments of faith is when Jesus asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Without missing a step, Peter responds, “You are the Christ.” It is in that moment that Jesus announces that He will build His Church upon this rock.

He doubted. It was perhaps just moments after Peter was declared “the rock” that he was quickly the subject of a stern rebuke from the Teacher. As Jesus shares with his disciples about the kind of death He will endure, Peter doubts what Jesus is saying. Jesus’ words were stern and direct, “Get behind me, Satan. . .” Of course, Peter’s most profound moment of doubt comes when he denies Christ three times. This, for me, is one of the most heart-wrenching passages in all of scripture. Peter must have felt fear like we can’t even imagine. He watches them take Jesus off to prison, and suddenly, the impact of Jesus’ prediction of His passion and death become reality. In that moment of immense fear and doubt, Peter denies Christ.

Peter was a great disciple of Christ, because of the man he was. He was a simple man, trying to live out his faith one day at a time. He didn’t always get it right; in fact, he often got it wrong! But despite all of this, Peter continued to follow Jesus. He overcame his fear, and he took up the mantle that Jesus gave him. He was the first pope in the newly-formed Church, founded on the blood of Christ.

The Church teaches that each of us is called to holiness, regardless of our station in life. Holiness does not exist in doing everything perfectly. If this were the case, St. Peter would have been out of the running for sainthood for sure. Holiness exists in putting our faith in God as the source of everything. As we fix our gaze upon the Lord, we go about our daily lives, doing the best we can, pleading for mercy when we fail and leaning on the solid foundation of our faith. As we celebrate our patron saint this weekend, let us look to Peter, the rock, as a powerful example of what it truly means to be holy.

This weekend is an important time for our parish family. We will gather together and enjoy good food, conversation and celebrate the blessings that flow in our parish and in our archdiocese. God has richly blessed us. Father Steven and I thank God every day for allowing us the privilege of serving at St. Peter’s. May this celebration of the Feast of St. Peter draw us all a little closer to our God and to one another. And yes, Father Steven, you can be first in line for ice cream!

With a joyful heart,
Deacon Tim


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