O sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth. In his presence are majesty and splendor, strength and honor in his holy place!
The Gospel Passage this weekend speaks to the heart of the Church’s mission: to follow Jesus Christ and to lead others to him. At first glance, this mission seems pretty simple and straightforward: Christ calls and we follow. Easy, right? Then why do we make it so complicated?
Other accounts of Saint Peter’s call, like the one in Saint Luke’s Gospel, include the miraculous catch of fish and Peter’s assertion of his unworthiness to follow Christ. “Depart from me, Lord, for I am sinful”! Adding to that sentiment is the living illustration throughout the New Testament that Peter is sinful…his mistakes are well-known. Now, I don’t want to pounce on Peter, but his life demonstrates the essence of discipleship: Christ calls and we follow even when we mess things up!
Peter’s display of authenticity throughout his discipleship is an inspiration for others to follow him. In the context of forgiveness for his mistakes, Peter witnesses to the power of Jesus Christ working in and through him. It isn’t his “perfection” that is the source of Peter’s holiness and attractiveness, it is authenticity as a redeemed sinner, which serves as a sign of hope.
We, like Peter, are called to lead others to Christ. This is rarely accomplished by dwelling on the dimensions of our life where we have it all figured out. Quite the opposite! While we absolutely must strive for holiness, which seeks perfection in Christ, our greatest witness of the Catholic faith is the forgiveness that we receive from Jesus Christ and then extend to one another. Peter lived this throughout his life after his encounter with Christ, and it was this humility that led him to be the Rock!
Almighty ever-living God, direct our actions according to your good pleasure, that in the name of your beloved Son we may abound in good works.