Sunday 25th January 2015

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Peter, Pope

February 17, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church” (Matt. 16:18; Mark 8:27). As I was looking at a replica of the Vatican, whose architecture is in the shape of a key in a keyhole, I realized that Christ really did build His Church on St. Peter. Deep in the recesses of St. Peter’s Basilica are the relics of St. Peter. There is no other church in all of Christendom that can claim to be built on St. Peter.
There is little known about Peter’s early life except that he was born in Bethsaida, a small town near Lake Genesareth. More of his history, however, can be gained from the passages in Scripture that relate to him. We know that he was a fisherman. Peter’s brother, Andrew, came to Peter and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” Later when Peter was casting his nets into the sea, our Lord called him and renamed him Cephas or Peter, meaning rock (Matt. 4:18).
Surely our Lord knew that here was the man who would become the first Vicar of Christ.
It is interesting to note that Peter drops what he was doing and answers the call “at once” (Matt. 4:20). Soon after our Lord accompanies Peter to his home. (As a fisherman, he is a boat owner and he also has a home, so he must have made a reasonable living.) Upon entering, they learn that Peter’s mother-in-law is ill with fever. Our Lord cures her and immediately she gets up and prepares food for them. Thus we know that Peter was married.
In the Gospels that recount the calling of the twelve at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, the first man named is “Simon called Peter.” Peter’s prominence is also recognized in the Gospel accounts in the way Jesus is questioned. In the Bible, either “the disciples” ask Jesus to explain the parables or Peter asks (Matt. 14:22-31).
Most significantly, when Jesus asks the apostles, “Who do you say I am?” it is Peter who answers, “You are the Christ.” Then our Lord told Peter he will head His Church and that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. When Jesus next foretells His Passion and Resurrection, Peter shows just how human he is. First of all, he does not seem to listen to the words spoken that Christ will rise again. Rather he asserts that this could not happen to Christ. To which Christ responds somewhat vehemently, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23).
One minute Peter is exalted for proclaiming Christ and the next he is scolded for an apparent attempt to thwart the will of God the Father. Yet our Lord does not abandon him. Rather He seems to be training him by including him in several other marvelous events such as the curing of the daughter of Jairus and the Transfiguration.
In John 6, the chapter of the Eucharist, Jesus asks His disciples if they, too, will abandon Him. Peter responds as if speaking for all of the apostles with simplicity and frankness: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life and we have come to believe and to know that you are the Christ, the Son of God” (John 6:69-70).
Peter is impulsive, passionate, and very much aware of his limitations. He recognizes that he does not always understand the point that Jesus is trying to make. It is Peter who asks Jesus to explain the parables and it is Peter who does not understand what Jesus is doing at the Last Supper when He washes the feet of the disciples.
When Peter declares that he will follow Christ, Jesus tells him he will deny Him three times. How this must have struck the heart of Peter! As St. Paul said, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. After the Last Supper, this becomes all too apparent.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asks the three apostles to pray with him but Peter, James, and John fall asleep three times — and thus Jesus falls three times. When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus, Peter cuts off the ear of one of them. Then Peter follows as they take Christ to the high priest.
After hearing the beating that Christ receives after His questioning, Peter then denies that he knows Christ, perhaps fearful that he too will receive such brutal treatment. When the cock crows, Peter leaves and weeps. Yet he does not despair as Judas does.
Three days later, on that first Easter Sunday morning, he runs to the tomb. Even though the youthful John arrives first, he waits for Peter, thus showing the primacy that Peter has among the apostles. Only after Peter enters the tomb does John go in.
Before our Lord ascends to Heaven, Peter and some apostles are fishing. When Peter learns that it is Jesus on the shore, he strips and leaps into the water so that he can get to Jesus all the more quickly. As they are eating the fish, Jesus questions Peter, “Do you love me?” three times. Peter answers three times; in the Greek there is much more meaning to the words used for love. Again Peter realizes the limits of the human heart and the great merciful love of God. Great sinners make great saints and Peter is a prime example.
Once our Lord ascends to Heaven, the apostles wait for the descent of the Holy Spirit. After that, Peter is a changed man, demonstrating the power of the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. His courage, fortitude, love, wisdom, and joy astound the Jewish leaders.
He is imprisoned and freed by angels. He meets with Paul and blesses his mission to the Gentiles. He is threatened, but this time does not deny Christ. He is finally crucified around AD 64 in Rome under the rule of Nero, who blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians. He asks that he not be crucified upright as Jesus had been because he is not worthy to die in the same manner. Thus, he is crucified upside down, as beautifully depicted in the painting by Caravaggio.
One of the books in the Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, is Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz, recounting the time of Peter and Paul in Rome — great reading for the lenten season.
On February 22 the Church celebrates the Chair of St. Peter. The First Vatican Council at the end of the 19th century formally declared the infallibility of the Pope, much to the consternation of many European nations. For two thousand years the Church has stood on the rock and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it.
Glory be to God. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. Mrs. Breslin’s articles have appeared in Homiletic & Pastoral Review and in the Marian Catechist Newsletter. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Cardinal: No pro-life victory without reaching the marginalized

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2015 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For the pro-life movement to truly succeed, it must fight not only abortion, but also the broader “throwaway culture” wherever life is being discarded, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston…Continue Reading

70 Churches Destroyed in ‘Anti-Charlie Hebdo’ Protests

The Christian community in Niger says it is in shock in the wake of weekend violence that has claimed the lives of 10 people and led to the destruction of dozens of places of worship and Christian homes. The protest,…Continue Reading

ITALY: Muslims smash, urinate on statue of Mary

A man was kneeling in prayer before the statue of the revered Madonna, with the photograph of a loved one in hand, in the small chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia (Italy), when he was attacked by five “immigrants.” The…Continue Reading

At new in-flight press conference Francis says good Catholics are not required ‘to be like rabbits’

Catholics fail to practise “responsible parenthood” when they have too many children, Pope Francis has said during an in-flight press conference on the way home from Manila. He also denounced the teaching of “gender theory” in schools, likening it to…Continue Reading

CRUX’s “spirituality columnist” is “devastated” the Pope upholds Catholic teaching

Margery Eagan appears to be angling for a job as editor of National “Catholic” Reporter. Or perhaps spokesman for the LCWR: The news that Pope Francis has strongly defended the Church’s ban on artificial birth control left me, in a word, devastated. Goodness. Even…Continue Reading

St. Paul-Mpls. archdiocese declares bankruptcy in response to abuse lawsuits

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday, saying it cannot meet its financial obligations from an unprecedented wave of clergy sex abuse lawsuits. The move freezes lawsuits against the church, protecting the archdiocese…Continue Reading

Pope Francis strongly defends church teaching against contraception

Pope Francis issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia’s largest Catholic nation to urge families to be “sanctuaries of respect for life.” Francis also denounced the corruption that has plagued…Continue Reading

Bella Dodd, who rejected Communism in favour of faith, is a lesson for young jihadis

Her story shows how easily the best human impulses can be twisted to evil Having blogged last week about John Beaumont’s book, The Mississippi Flows Into The Tiber, with all the extraordinary, uplifting and grace-filled stories of conversion that it…Continue Reading

Fox News’ Bret Baier, actor Gary Sinise cancel on Catholic group after gay gripes

FOX News Channel’s chief political anchor, Bret Baier, has shown himself to have a thinner skin than might be guessed from his on-air persona.  Baier has caved in to pressure from the homosexual activist group ‘Good as You’ to back…Continue Reading

Federal judge strikes down South Dakota’s gay marriage ban

SIOUX FALLS – A federal judge has declared South Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, but has stayed the decision pending appeal. U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier on Monday issued a summary judgment in favor of the six couples who filed…Continue Reading

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke on the Catholic “Man-crisis” and what to do about it

Recently, I had the great honor to have an audience with His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke to discuss the state of Catholic men in the United States. Here is the full transcript: Matthew James Christoff of the New Emangelization Project:…Continue Reading

Catholic laypeople must have maturity to speak up about bad things happening at highest levels in Church

This morning (Dec. 28), I spoke during Mass in the parish church of St Theresa of the Child Jesus, in north west London, about the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome last October. Interestingly, my talk was very well…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Angelus: Jesus Wanted United Christians

(Vatican Radio) On Sunday and before the Angelus, the Pope recalled the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and its theme, “Give me a drink”, the sentence uttered by Jesus to the Samaritan woman. He told the faithful gathered that the “desire for unity” of the disciples of Jesus is part of our “thirst not only material for water, but…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Religious who pray for Christian unity an “invisible monastery”

(Vatican Radio) The vital role that men and women religious of different Christian Churches play in the ecumenical journey was at the heart of Pope Francis’s meeting on Saturday with participants in a conference on consecrated life and the search for Christian Unity. The three day meeting, which concludes on Sunday, comes in the context of both this Week of…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Thursday Mass in Santa Marta

pope713

(Vatican Radio) The most important thing is not the grace of a physical healing, but the fact that Jesus saves us and intercedes for us: this was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks following the readings of the day at Mass on Thursday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. Commenting on the Gospel of…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Blesses The Lambs On The Feast Of St. Agnes

lambs

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis marked the Feast of St. Agnes with a centuries-old rite: the blessing of the lambs, from whose wool the Pallium will be made. As per tradition, the small lambs, traditionally less than a year old, were carried to the Casa Santa Marta, where the Pope blessed them in the atrium, in baskets. Come summer these same…Continue Reading

“I Can’t Breathe”… The Plight Of The Preborn

By REY FLORES (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted from www.all.org, the website of American Life League. All rights reserved.) + + + This past year has seen race relations decline as a result of a well-orchestrated attempt by a corrupt government that wants to divide us at all costs. And the propaganda peddlers known…Continue Reading

“Flee Immorality,” Church Unity, & Right To Life March

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his January 18 blog…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Christianity’s Gift To The World

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Siedentop, Larry. Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2014. Pp. viii + 434. Does it still make sense to still talk about the West in what some call a “post-Christian world”? Larry Siedentop, emeritus fellow of Keble College, Oxford, asks, “Can the West still be…Continue Reading

Author And Monk Thomas Merton Turns 100

By RAY CAVANAUGH The most famous Trappist monk of the 20th century was not originally a Catholic. Thomas Merton, born 100 years ago this January 31, was baptized first in the Church of England. Both of his parents were artists: His father was from New Zealand and his mother was from the U.S. Merton was…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Abortifacient Brief: Abortion Pill Reversals”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of this article with footnotes, contact him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + The scientific name of the abortion pill RU 486 is mifepristone, which is sold under the brand names Mifegyn,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity . . . The Faith Of The Early Christians

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 6 What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the perpetual virginity of the Mother of Jesus? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned alive, racked, beheaded. Others were crucified, flayed alive,…Continue Reading

I Believe — We Believe

By DON FIER Over the past three weeks of this series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), we have been reflectively examining the characteristics of the indescribably wonderful gift of faith that Almighty God has so generously availed mankind. As so adeptly summarized in the Compendium of the CCC, we know that faith is “the supernatural virtue which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I remember a nun telling us back in Catholic school that after God ejected Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, He promised that He would eventually send them a Messiah. Where is that in the Bible? — M.R., Indiana. A. In chapter 3 of the Book of Genesis. Actually, the promise was made before God expelled our…Continue Reading

Joy And Fulfillment

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Deut. 18:15-20 1 Cor. 7:32-35 Mark 1:21-28 In the first reading today God makes a promise and a command. He promises that He will raise up for the people a Prophet like Moses. At the same time, He requires that the people will listen to that Prophet because…Continue Reading

Cardinal Ranjith’s Address To Pope . . . We Need Your Prayers, As Well As Your Guidance

(Editor’s Note: Here is the text of a speech given the morning of January 14 by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, in gratitude to the Holy Father. He addressed these words at the end of the Mass of Canonization of St. Joseph Vaz that Pope Francis celebrated. He was interrupted by applause several times. See page 1 of this…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds our finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Stephen, Protomartyr

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the popular Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, a different gift is given for each of the twelve days of Christmas. This celebration of twelve days begins with December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen, and ends with the Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6. The Catholic Church celebrates the Christmas octave, eight days of…Continue Reading