Friday of the First Week
Feast of Saint Peter
Like many, we have always loved Psalm 23; but we are especially fond of Peter precisely for all his imperfections. It is a deep comfort for us sinners to see vividly the kind of Messiah we have in Christ.
Matthew’s Gospel portrays Peter’s profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus, in turn, dramatically declares Peter to be the “rock” on which He will found His Church, also promising that the gates of hell will not prevail against His people. Immediately following the events in today’s reading, we find Peter being Peter: presumptuous, impulsive, missing the point (though well-intentioned) and, as we subsequently see, he will in fear deny Jesus but quickly and bitterly repent. This suggests his “qualification” for being given his role was his simple faith. God knows we are imperfect and need to repent and grow as individuals and as a Church. The only requirement on our part is that in the midst of suffering, heartache and failure, we have faith and continue to love and serve one another.
In his letter, we now find St. Peter fully grown in the faith. He calls on his fellow elders to be shepherds of their flocks, leading them gladly and through example, not by imposition. He has learned very well the meaning of the words of the Good Shepherd Himself: “His sheep know His voice and they follow Him as He calls them one by one” (John 10).
Lord, please help us in these troubled times to hear Your voice and follow as You call our name in boundless love.
Eleanor and Peter Tumulty, Professor of Philosophy
First Reading: 1 Peter 5:1-4
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website