Seeing Peter’s Foibles as Our Own

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By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Peter is my favorite apostle. Talk about someone who could put his foot in his mouth! He makes me feel like my own mistakes are not such a big deal.

Peter made many of his own. Jesus even had to talk to him about them at times. Very human. But what I love even more than Peter’s mistakes is his willingness to ask for forgiveness and to try to do his best.

As Holy Week unfolds, I’ve been thinking about Peter’s foibles. First, he insists that Jesus not wash his – Peter’s – feet. This is not something Jesus should be doing, Peter says. It’s someone else’s job.

Jesus patiently explains the reason he will do it to Peter.

Next, Peter goes overboard and asks Jesus to do more … just like real life. How often do we go from one extreme to another? How often do we fail to understand the message?

When Jesus shares, during the meal, that someone is going to betray him, Peter jumps in to say, “It’s not I, Lord.”

You can feel that Jesus is fed up when he replies that Peter will deny him not once, but 3 times. You know what happens next. The Lord has predicted right, and Peter realizes when the rooster crows that he has, in fact, denied Jesus.

Peter is ashamed, and asks to be forgiven.

Oh, boy. What part of this can we NOT relate to? When have we not had faith? When have we denied someone? When have we not stood up for someone when people were speaking ill of them? When have we even chimed in about the complaints about a person?

As we move through Holy Week, take a look at Peter. How can his story inform ours? How have we have failed like Peter? Can we ask forgiveness?

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