St Peter our Patron
Today, June 28, our church honours Saint Peter our Patron. (Strictly his feast day is 29 June.) Peter was poor and seemingly not well educated (at least in his early days). He was a fisherman called by Jesus to be one of his permanent disciples and the foremost. During Jesus’ lifetime, St. Peter was with Jesus for several key moments, including the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden.
It's Good to Take Risks, but Don’t Be Rash
St. Peter was known for his rash responses. He unthinkingly argued with Jesus because he couldn’t accept that Jesus would have to suffer. Very rash! Later, when the Jews were taking Jesus prisoner in the garden, Peter drew his sword and cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear (John 18:10). Jesus told Peter to put his sword away. Finally, as Jesus had foretold, Peter denied Jesus three times (John 18:15-27).
It is one thing to be rash (not good) but another thing to live by faith (good). Slowing down and praying before acting can help us make better decisions. But acting with faith makes all things possible. St. Peter’s life illustrates this over and over again.
Peter’s life teaches us that it is ok to take a risk when God calls – such as when Peter catches a load of fish by casting his nets into the deep at Jesus’ instruction, or tries to walk on water (needing a bit of help from Jesus!). God does not always ask us to play it safe. Peter’s actions challenge us to ask ourselves what risk is God calling us to take? Maybe trying to befriend someone who may reject us. Maybe giving money to a good cause when you are struggling financially yourself. Trusting God is a risk, but it is not rash. It’s the way we become who we were made to be.
Humility is Key
Tradition has it that St. Peter was crucified upside down at his own request. St. Peter didn’t think he was worthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus. He was humble. Similarly, while he could be rash, he humbly submitted to Jesus’ correction.
Today’s world pushes us to hide our flaws and imperfections. Even if we acted rashly we would be reluctant to admit it. But humility calls on us at least to admit our faults to ourselves and to God. We are called to die to our egos and our pride.
Hope is Vital
St. Peter wrote, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15). Yes, life may have been very challenging to Peter and to the early Christians, but they lived in HOPE. We too need to live hopefully, trustfully, whatever the world or the media throw at us. Hope sustains when other things don’t. When you have hope, it is easier to be patient with others, to see things in perspective, to give of yourself to others.
So...lots to learn from St Peter.