Simon Peter is one of my Scriptural heroes, and not because he was Jesusí right-hand man or the leader of the early Church.
Rather, it was because he somehow managed to become those things in spite of himself.
The Peter portrayed in the Gospels is a mess of impulses, the guy who always says or does the wrong thing. Todayís Gospel reading about the Transfiguration of Jesus is a classic example.
The story begins with Jesus taking Peter, James and John up a mountain. There he is revealed as the Son of God and Messiah, more worthy of honor even than Moses and Elijah, the two great heroes of salvation history who suddenly appear with him.
For the three disciples, this is a moment to be savored, not interrupted. Yet, Peter being Peter, he canít stay quiet.
Without truly understanding what is happening, Peter blurts out an offer to erect some tents. In so doing, he comes close to stepping on God the Fatherís profound affirmation of Jesus as beloved son.
It is easy to critique Peter after the fact, but I suspect that a lot of us would have reacted similarly.
Many of us, like Peter, have difficulty knowing how to respond in graced moments. We too struggle with the tendency to over-analyze and overreact.
Violet, left, a sponsored child in Kenya, shares a quiet moment with Audrey as the two play together. Violet is sponsored by Audrey’s parents, Eric and Sarah.
And we sometimes speak when we would be better off listening.
Thankfully, Godís grace has a way of sneaking through even our best efforts to block it. Sometimes we are forced to pay attention by big and traumatic events in our lives.
But, every now and then, that grace also catches us in quiet moments when, for whatever reason, we are just ready to listen.
For nearly 30 years CFCA has been gently helping people to listen better. We invite sponsors and sponsored persons to listen to one another and to be mutually blessed through their communion.
We seek to facilitate graced conversations where the voice of God might be revealed in new and beautiful ways that help build a more just, more peaceful world.
This Lent we invite all the members of our community to listen well and be attentive to the surprising voice of God.
It may be a voice of challenge or it may be a voice of affirmation. We do not know what that voice will say to you, but we do believe that it waits to be heard.
Simon Peter eventually did become the leader that Jesus knew he could be. In the end, he succeeded because Jesus never gave up on him and because he never gave up on himself.
And because he finally learned to be still enough to listen.
- Read the first Lenten reflection: Learning to love others more deeply
- Read the third Lenten reflection: Discovering our best selves
- Read the fourth Lenten reflection: Opening our eyes and hearts to a new vision
- Read the fifth Lenten reflection: Rising again from small, everyday ‘deaths’
- Read the sixth Lenten reflection: Embracing the reality of the cross
- Read the seventh Lenten reflection:†Making sense of the empty tomb