A Reflection on Peter

First Reading: Jas 2:1-9
Psalm: Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: Mk 8:27-33

Peter is an immensely likable sort of a character. He is so human.
One moment he is all inspired and makes a wonderful profession of
faith, but in today’s Gospel, he is told by Jesus that he thinks
like Satan. It should give us comfort to know that we are not the
only ones who can go from a shining moment to a humbling situation
in a short space of time.

What can we learn from Peter? Peter is a fervent follower of Jesus,
yet he does not fully understand the meaning of Jesus’ mission. He
knows that Jesus’ mission is important, but he is not quite sure
what it entails. It is as though he has this hunch about Jesus and
this is what is driving him to persevere in being a disciple.

Sometimes our faith may be only a hunch of what we are supposed to
do in a particular situation. If we stand around waiting for our
hunch to become a certainty, we will probably end up doing nothing.
Unless we step out in faith and test our hunch, we will never know
whether it was right or wrong. Peter steps out twice in today’s
Gospel reading. In one of his hunches he was right and in the other
he was wrong. If Peter had not taken the risk, he would not have
learned anything. As it is, he now has a much better idea of who
Jesus really is and what his mission entails. Peter does not know
everything, but he is taking risks and learning.

One of the best practical methods of discernment in the spiritual
life is to keep walking through the doors as they open before us. If
they do not, then perhaps God is saying that this is not the way for
us. If we do not try the door handle to see if it will open, we
might never know if that was the way for us or not. Many people fail
to discern God’s will for them because they wait for absolute
certainty before moving forward. Life is about taking risks and
learning as we go. Peter was not afraid to speak up and see if he
was right or not. He is a good example of moving forward in faith.