Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Frankly, I struggled a bit to find any deeper meaning in the readings this week. I mean, on the surface, they’re pretty cut and dried: God appoints who he wishes to appoint, and, as St. Paul says in the second reading. “How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!” Hey, Peter, you’re in charge.
In the end, I got caught up in seeing things from Peter’s perspective. On a personal level, I can identify with him a bit here because I feel like I’m in a time of transition: making some adjustments, working a little to find who and what and where I’m meant to be. And I wonder what Peter felt in the midst of some of these GIANT CHANGES God was working in his life. He had a stable life at one point, a familiar place, a job he knew and understood. In a short period of time, he answered a call and left all that behind. He is given an entirely new name. Although we aren’t told all of his thoughts, I can imagine it must have frequently been both humbling and terrifying.
He was a simple fisherman. There were so many disciples who were, on the surface, much better prepared to lead a Church that would sweep the world: educated men, men with important families, important positions. Can you imagine what people would say today if you decided to assemble an international organization, and out of the blue you stuck some small town fisherman at the head? It boggles the mind. I feel for him.
And yet, he managed it. God gave him the wisdom he needed, the knowledge, the people to support him. He found his faith, and in the end, he found the strength to die for that faith.
It gives little old me hope.