Petition: Lord, help me to see and avoid the pitfalls of pride.
- Trusts in Christ’s Love: Peter loves Jesus. Jesus is his best friend. Peter would do anything for him. Like us, it distresses Peter to think he might be separated from Jesus. He feels the strength of his love and doesn’t hesitate to proclaim that he is willing to die for Jesus. He means it. That same night in the Garden of Gethsemane, he will draw a rusty old sword and face a cohort of professional soldiers all by himself. With a mighty stroke (not much of a swordsman, but brave…), he will nick the ear of the High Priest’s servant. There really is love there and a serious intention to make sacrifices for Jesus’ sake. But like us, there is something he still lacks. At times I may feel so ready to take on anything for love of Christ. But as soon as the “anything” comes, I experience my weakness. There’s even the risk of giving into discouragement at my failures.
- Making Poor Choices: We know that Peter can make a bad decision because he has done it often enough in the past. Five minutes after being named head of the apostles, he is advising Jesus to abandon the Father’s plan, a plan that involves going to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Jesus reacts strongly, totally rejecting this insinuation: No one comes between him and the Father’s will. Peter has made a big mistake, and Jesus makes that clear: “Stumbling block,” “Satan,” “You think not as God thinks but as man” (Cf. Matthew 16:23). And this was only one in a series of mistakes; the Gospels list more. Part of Peter’s appeal is that he is so much like us. We make lots of mistakes every day. Like Peter, we think not as God, but as men. Yet as we know, Peter will succeed in the end to become humble and to serve his Lord steadfastly.
- Misjudgment of Situations: Peter is complacent. He thinks he understands the situation. Everything is going well. The people have finally acclaimed Jesus as Messiah. The chief priests, scribes and Pharisees are upset but powerless. They attempt to debate Jesus and show him up every day, but always end up bested by Jesus. It seems like it won’t be long now before Jesus has everyone convinced that he is the Messiah and from that point on, it should be clear sailing. Peter is about to be blindsided, but he doesn’t realize it. The only solution for him is to do what Jesus is urging him to do, but he doesn’t realize that. In spite of his respect for Jesus, he is still sure that he knows what it best for himself. I am convinced that my life must be rooted in prayer and union with God?
Resolution: I will start everything I do today with a prayer, offering its fruits up to God. When I finish each activity, I will give thanks to Christ, my friend, for all the help he has given me. I will offer him my successes and ask him to forgive my failings.