Saturday of the Third Week of Easter – Scripture Readings
St. Peter gets a lot of credit in today’s scene from the Gospel for his response to Jesus’ question about whether the Apostles are leaving or not him. He said, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The irony in Peter’s confession though is that despite his great faith now, he will find himself tested as well, because all of us have room to grow.
We know Peter’s faith was tested, not only because of the denial at the crucifixion, but because late in the Gospel of John we find Peter and the Apostles, “return[ing] to their former way of life” after Christ’s death. The risen Christ goes out to meet them on the shoreline because they have returned to fishing.
So, where did Peter’s faith, ready as it was to make today’s confession, need growth? I think you find room for growth in that Peter speaks of Jesus as having the words of eternal life. This is a profession that Christ’s words are truth and life. This could mean that Peter truly believes Christ is the next great prophet, the new Moses. These are good professions! But is this clearly professing him to be God – the one capable of overcoming death?
See, this is where the growth can occur, for Christ not only has the words of eternal life — He is eternal life. By rearticulating it that way, one takes an unequivocal stance on who Jesus is.
There are so many areas of our faith where we are in Peter’s shoes. We can make the confession that is ‘good enough,’ but has so much potential for growth. We can admit that we have nowhere else to go, but we sound more defeated than blessed. We can miss who Jesus truly is as we focus disproportionately on what words he has for us.
Lord, we know that you have the words of the eternal life because you are eternal life. You are the incarnate Lord, and we will always have room to grow in our relationship with you. Please, give us the grace to enter that growth now so that we never return to our former ways.