I wanted to pause our Lenten season to celebrate this holy man who dropped everything to follow a radical man. Today is the feast of the chair of St. Peter the Apostle. One of my favorite Gospel readings is all about him and his name change (you can read about it here). St. Peter is the man who would go from being a local fisherman to the first man to lead the Church after Jesus' Ascension. He was our first Pope. St. Peter was willing to abandon everything he had ever known, give up the society he had been raised in, and even walk on water to be closer to God's Son. He would eventually die for Christ's Church.
Saints have two main purposes in the Church. First, they pray for us in Heaven. Secondly, their lives on earth are a model and inspiration for us to follow and strive to do better. Peter's life teaches us three primary thing about being a follower of Christ.
1.) You don't have to be perfect to follow Christ
We are going to be hearing this story about a month, but Peter is the Apostle who denies Jesus three times before He is crucified. Jesus knew that Peter would make mistakes but He still loved Peter and chose him to be the rock of the Church. Peter's story is reminder that Jesus does not ask for perfection, but for a willingness to try to do better again and again.
2.) No prior education required
St. Peter was a fisherman before he became one of the twelve. It is unlikely that he knew how read or write well. He was not an expert on the Jewish religion. None of that mattered to Christ. All Jesus wanted was someone who was willing to listen, ask questions, and learn. We don't need to be experts about our faith. We don't need a degree in theology or to deep-dive into St. Augustine. We just need to be open to God's Word through God's Son.
3.) We will be changed for the better
After inviting Jesus into our lives and learning from Him, we are going to be changed. We will no longer be of this world, but citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom. We will go from men and women afraid to step out into uncertain waters to those who walk fearlessly on the waves, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ rather than the turbulence below us.
St. Peter the Apostle, pray for us, that we may be more like you and follow Jesus out onto the water.