Peter was Jesus’ choice to lead the fragile band of apostles. In today’s Gospel, Simon is given a new name—Peter, the “rock.” In John’s Gospel, Peter is called to be a shepherd. He is expected to lay down his life for his sheep. And tradition tells us that he did just that. But today we think about the durable rocklike quality that Jesus needed in a leader.
Peter was appointed to his leadership position for reasons we are not able to fathom. God knows, and Jesus knew well, that Peter was flawed. We cannot mistake his enthusiasms, though, his manifest love, and his great, exuberant faith. Those virtues saw him through. They are durable, tough, beautiful virtues. They make Peter a sympathetic and lovable person. They provide us with the balance and humor that we need as we consider our own roles in the universal church.
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