May 30, 2020 – Saturday, Seventh Week of Easter
‘It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.’ – St. Peter, Acts 4:20
Peter the Apostle
Of all the disciples, Peter is the one mentioned most often in the Gospels.
Peter, along with his brother Andrew, was part-owner of a fishing business. His name was Simon, but Jesus renamed him “Rock.” It was not a word used at that time as a name. Jesus coined it for him. (The Greek word for rock is “petros” – from which his name has passed into most other languages.)
After the Resurrection, Peter emerged as the leading figure in the Church at Jerusalem.
According to ancient tradition, he eventually went to Rome, became the leader of the Christians there, and was martyred during Nero’s persecution (64 or 65 A.S.). Early writers tell of his having been killed by crucifixion, and that he asked to be put on the cross upside down since he was not worthy to imitate so closely the death of Christ.
On the feast of SS. Peter and Paul in 2019, Pope Francis gave the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew a reliquary containing nine of St. Peter’s bone fragments. They had been discovered during excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica in the 1940’s. The pope later said he gave the patriarch the bones as ‘a confirmation of the journey that our Churches have made in drawing closer to one another.”
Jesus said: “And behold, I am with you always, until the endo of the age.” (Mt 28:20)
This is the wrap-up of Matthew’s Gospel – the longest of the four Gospels. Jesus has come a long way in this Gospel. The author began by telling us that the child to be born would be called Emmanuel, “God with us.” The Gospel ends with Jesus not going away from the disciples, but approaching them and promising, “I am with you always, even to the endo for the age.” The last words of this Gospel remind me that Jesus is here to console me, to protect me, to help me, to heal me, to give me peace, comfort.
It’s great news.
Sometimes when I’m trying to lead a good life, I’m trying to lead a good life. I’m not sure what the best thing is to do. I’m like an airline pilot trying to navigate through fog and clouds.
Imagine flying an airplane with no radar, no radio. Jesus climbs into the plane and says, “I’ll ride next to you. I know it’s foggy and I know it’s cloudy. But I’ll ride next to you. I’ll show you which way to go.”
I can’t see the future but I believe Jesus is with me.
What I have to do is remember to ask the Lord: “What do you want me to do? In which direction do you want me to go?”
That’s what happens when I pray.