…Jesus said them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Sometimes I wonder how Peter knew those words to say back to Jesus, how he really understood what he was saying. I had a conversation the other day with a twentysomething man who was telling me about his grandfather. He said that faith for his grandfather was just a natural thing. He told me that his grandfather “just knew” God and that he prayed every day with the surety and conviction of a saint. The grandson wants that for himself, that same conviction and peace. Yet, he has a scientific mind, a rational approach to the world and to God and does not see such faith as possible for him, at least not now.
I told him that his conviction will most likely come later in life, when his life circumstances change him, when he does not always get his way, when suffering makes a home in him, when he finally realizes that life does not always turn out as planned.
After all, Peter denied Jesus three times and he was always fumbling around in Jesus’ presence to make himself look good. Only after Peter suffered did he really understand the glorious keys that were handed to him.
Here are some questions for you in this Lenten season:
How do you understand Jesus in this Lenten journey? Are you afraid of him because you think he will judge you or are you drawn to him because of the love he has for you even when you stumble and fall?
How do you view Peter in today’s gospel and as the recipient of the Keys to the Kingdom? How can you and your faith help the Church today become a more credible witness to people who suffer, to those who really need God and to the marginalized?