“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18).
I have a beautiful little niece who is almost two years old, and she is turning into quite the little trouble-maker and I think it is safe to say that she is very cheekily a terrible two and being at that precarious age, she is ready to get into mischief the moment her mother turns her back.
And I make this observation with a great deal of love in my heart for this little girl because it was the prayers that I prayed for this little girl – when she was so very sick after her birth that nobody knew whether she would live or die – that paved the way for my Beloved to find me… I experienced my conversion through GRACE and no merit of my own, while praying my prayers for this beautiful little girl…
And for a very long time after her birth, this child was simply not well enough to actually cause any trouble at all. And so you can imagine my excited gratitude to God – the gratitude of our whole family – for this child’s health and her strength, and for her ability to cause mischief!
I was considering the mischief caused by those we love… The Saints were not exempt from causing mischief… In fact, Saint Paul rebuked Saint Peter (Cephas) for the mischief he caused to the early Church when he was fearful of the Jews and refused to eat with Gentiles, despite his earlier decision…
“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, ‘You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?’” (Galatians 2:11-14).
And Saint Paul did this out of love for Saint Peter. This did not stop Saint Paul following the First Pope, in fact, he continued following Saint Peter “Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days.” (Galatians 1:18). Saint Paul did not first say, “Oh Peter, you are so weak and so flawed that you ran away from Christ when He needed you most.”
Instead, he followed the directive of Christ – who knew all that Peter had done and all that Peter would do and still said to him… “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19).
And this is because Saint Paul saw Saint Peter’s great love for God… And it is this great love that allowed God to so reward Saint Peter with this mission…
Saint Augustine said, “There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.”
And I understand a little something of that – because all children misbehave at one point or another (just like my niece and Saint Peter) – and yet, God loves us anyway and that is a very good thing… Because, as Saint John Chrysostom said, “There is nothing more powerful than the Church; give up fighting her, lest she overpower your strength. Wage not war against heaven. If you fight a man, you conquer or are conquered. But if you fight the Church, you cannot conquer. For God is stronger than all... Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. What words? You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
And this means that I am safe – right here in God’s house, which is built on His rock…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.