The Good News for the Day, January 14, 2018
The Second Sunday of Ordinary time (65)
John the Baptizer was standing there, along with two people he had inspired, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he remarked, “See, the Lamb of God.” The two men heard what he had said and began to follow Jesus. Jesus turned around, saw them following him, and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (“Teacher” in their language), “where are you staying?” He told them, “Come on, and you will see.” So, they went, saw where he was staying, and they stayed there with him that day. It was mid- afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who had heard John and had followed Jesus. He first found his brother Simon to told him, “We have found the Messiah,” (“Christ” in Greek). Then he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon Johnson; you are going to be called ‘Rocky’ (Kephas)” (which is what the word Peter means). (John 1)
Throughout the Gospels, Simon (“Peter”) appears as a weak lunkhead, slow to get the point, weak in loyalty, hasty and thoughtless in conversation, enthusiastic otherwise to where he looks stupid. He is your “ordinary guy,” in so many ways.
Quickly chosen from working on his boats, almost surely illiterate in the beginning, and the only Apostle said to have been married—he just seems almost a fictional “Joe” who walks onto the stage of life and does not know how to handle it.
But handle it he does! In his later years—after the Gospel events, we see Peter, tenderly forgiven by the Risen Lord, leading deliberations that display decisions worthy of a leader others look up to. Though discussion and consensus are involved, this new Peter leads the new community.
Without going into a lot of detail—Peter models his life on the Jesus he knew in many ways—He breaks rules to eats with Gentiles (and is criticized). He emphasizes the Spirit—the outlook spirit of repentance and forgiveness. He heals some, and brings a child back to life. He is arrested for healing, jailed and scourged—then, like Easter, is freed by an angel. He travels as a missionary to Joppa, Antioch –and probably Rome.
Peter modeled Jesus after Jesus was gone physically. This “ordinary man” carried on the Life of Jesus. The Good News is calling on you to do the same thing—to be Peter today, accept that Spirit of repentance and forgiveness, heal and raise the dead, suffer for breaking social rules and for helping others—and lead others—to decide on openness, service and otherness—to be the Life of Jesus in TODAY’s world.