From a Creighton Student's Perspective
April 19, 2011
Junior, Theology and Secondary Education Double Major
At first read, this line seems a little bit mean to me. All Peter wants to do is follow Jesus everywhere he goes. He loves him and wants to be with him. But, as we continually see throughout the Gospels, Peter just doesn’t quite get it. He doesn’t get that Jesus has just sent Judas off to pay for his death. He doesn’t get that truly following Jesus means persecution. I think that is why Jesus tells Peter that he can’t come yet. It is not out of anger or pride; it is out of love. Jesus is saying to Peter, “You are not ready yet. Wait awhile. Soon, you will be ready to lead my Church.”
I really like St. Peter. I like him, not because he is perfect or pre-made to be the first leader of the Church, but because he is precisely the opposite of all those things. He was a poor fisherman, who probably wasn’t the brightest bulb in the lamp. He was most certainty imperfect, continually missing the mark on what Jesus was trying to teach. I can almost see Jesus slapping his forehead thinking, “Really Peter? You still don’t get it? Let’s go over this one more time.” Just after this passage, Jesus is being tried, and Peter denies him, just as Jesus said he would. Yet, Jesus doesn’t back out of his choice for the leader of the Church. He sticks by Peter, in all of his imperfections.
To me, this means we don't have to be perfect to follow Christ. We are called to follow him as we are, in all of our imperfections. In turn, we shouldn’t expect others to be perfect, including the leaders in our Church. We are called to look at everyone in the world, including ourselves, and see past the imperfections, the moments when we just don’t get it, and see the Christ in them. That is what Jesus did. He saw past Peter’s blemishes and denials and saw a man who would take the Church from a small group of disciples to a worldwide phenomenon. He saw the beauty beneath Peter’s outer shell, and he sees beyond our shells too. He sees us for the beautiful children we are and he loves us. Don’t we owe ourselves the same love?
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