Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

Lectionary: 278

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Saint Peter comes off unusually well in both of today's readings. Faith has taken hold of him and directed his actions. In this way the Lord's leading disciple and spokesperson shows us how to behave as Christians. 

First in chronology, we hear Peter unequivocally state, "You are the Holy One of God." 

Does he have enough proof of this to dissuade the skeptics. No. There is no amount of proof to persuade those who do not want to believe in Jesus. Arguing with them is an exercise in vanity. 

Saint Peter has seen a lot by the end of John 6. More importantly, he has seen many people make their decisions and leave. He will not do so. He loves this man who has called him away from the fishing boats; he cannot and will not turn away. 

When Jesus asks him a critical question, "Do you also want to leave?" he knows it's time to "vote with the feet." He stays. 

There is in this passage an obvious surrender. "Where else could we go?" There are no better options. It may not be an overwhelming affirmation like Saint Francis', "This is what I want with all my heart!" Peter's is a yes that is still shedding its nos; but it's a yes that will grow stronger and more definite in time. 

When we turn back to today's first reading we find the same man "walking in power." He has put doubt about Jesus and about himself well behind him. He commands Aeneas to get out of his sick bed and Lydia to rise from her death bed -- and they immediately obey him. 

A man less sure of himself might let this power go to his head. To prove himself and his rightful position he might exercise the authority too often or in wrong ways. As Lord Acton observed, "Power corrupts." 

But Peter remembers his initial surrender to Jesus. (Almost) everything the man in the Acts of the Apostles does is in obedience to the Holy Spirit of Jesus. He is guided in his words and deeds, his prayers and gestures by a willing, compliant spirit and by his personal loyalty to his murdered, risen friend. 

Peter has nowhere else to go but deeper into the mind and heart of Jesus. And we must go with him. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.