Today’s Gospel account has Peter playing a prominent role. It is interesting to look at the different accounts in the Gospel as it shows us that he was a man who had both low and high moments in his life. Of all the apostles, Peter is the one whose character is revealed the most to us.
No doubt the lowest point of Peter’s life took place in the courtyard of the High Priest when he denied Jesus three times. His great profession of faith in Jesus in today’s Gospel account certainly was his finest moment.
There was a solid, even rocklike side to Peter’s character. He was always the one to come forward. It is obvious that he had leadership qualities which were recognized by Jesus.
But there was another side to Peter, a weaker and darker side that would prove to be a very humbling and bitter experience for him. It is important that those in positions of leadership be aware of their weaknesses. People who act as if they are infallible make a lot of mistakes and in the process hurt a lot of people.
It is important to remember that the Peter who proclaimed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” is the same Peter who swore and cursed, saying, “I do not know the man!”
What does this say to us? There was division within Peter, just as there is division in each one of us. Just as Peter was capable of being courageous at one moment and cowardly at another, so are we.
Each of us has high and low moments in our lives. We should try to not let the low moments bring us down, and we must draw strength and encouragement from the high moments. It is important that we never forget our weak side and try to act out of our strong side. The Lord smiles on us in our good moments, and upholds us in our low moments.
Peter also reminds us that we should never put people down in their low moments or write them off. Their good moments should help us see their potential and to affirm and encourage them. We are quick to voice our criticisms, but reluctant to give a single word of encouragement. As the proverb states, “If you don’t have anything good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”
Peter has his faults which were obvious. Peter had his good points that made him generous, enthusiastic and a good leader. And his most important quality was his faithfulness to the Master, a fidelity so strong that he endured crucifixion for the One he acclaimed as the Christ, the Son of the living God.
May we always remember that we are weak, fragile creatures as this will enable us to seek the good in every person we meet. Let us challenge ourselves this week to see one good thing in each person we meet this week. If we look through the eyes of Jesus we will have no problem doing this.
— Father Dennis, August 27, 2017