Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: lectionary 475. Ephesians 3:2-12. Psalm 85:9-10.11-12.13-14.
We all like the humanness of St. Peter. He is impetuous, spontaneous, and
sometimes plain blunt. We learn sometimes by our own mistakes and also by
learning from the mistakes of others including the foibles of the saints.
This is good for us and we grow. We may have had teachers who should never
have been in a classroom, but by not teaching and doing what they did, we
can be better teachers. And for St. Peter, he is never a boring character
in his relationship with Jesus and with others. Recently, in one of the
apocryphal gospels I became aware that he is called a “hothead” by Levi
(perhaps, the writer means Matthew). There is an argument against the
leadership of Mary Magdalene wherein Peter is also assisted by his brother
Andrew in talking down to her and scolding her. Levi comes to her refuge
and tells Peter he is always a hothead.
In today’s scene on the journey to Jerusalem, Peter helps illicit another
parable from Jesus and then is asking about the parable whether it is meant
only for the apostles or for the whole world. “Do you intend this parable
for us , Lord, or do you mean it for the whole world?” Since it is
followed by another parable we learn that it is directly intended for Peter
and the eleven other apostles so that they may come to see their
discipleship as servant-leadership. We as readers of the Gospel become
part of the story for the Gospels were written not for Peter but for us by
Peter’s friends. So, we too, must apply the lesson to ourselves within the
Christian community or family to which we belong. It is again one of those
both…and teachings of the Lord.
Just as Peter becomes the rock and leader of the apostles and the Church
so, too, we continue to be servants of the Lord offering our talents in a
mode that we call servant-leadership. Or even better, in some Isaiah
manner we are creative active agents in the redemption of the Lord Jesus.
Parables are meant for each one of us at where we are in our spiritual
journey with Jesus. We can learn much from them as they teach us about our
Perhaps, we can make our prayer a humorous one by scanning our memory bank
for other passages addressed to Peter who always comes up with something
that stirs the other apostles and that helps us see how human the leader of
the group that is following Jesus is. We can easily identify with him and
learn from our own mistakes of omission and commission. Matthew’s Gospel
is meant for everyone who takes the time to read it. Then for those who
read it in the light of their own limits we are able to grow more deeply
into our following of the Lord in his Paschal Mysteries. Like Peter we can
pray while asking questions of Jesus. Is this meant for us or for the
world? The parable unravels itself, falls apart for our limited
understanding so that we know what it means, through Peter the active agent
in the question posed to Jesus. Like Peter we are the only hands, voices,
and feet that can bring the Good News of Jesus to others. Like the Pope,
we are called to be servants of the servant of God. The parables are meant
for everyone who takes the time to read them and struggles to accept the
challenge they bring to us in our own journey on the way to Jerusalem.