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Peter’s Example

Matthew Harrison

Monday, April 9, 2007

St. Peter holds the keys to the Kingdom in St. Peter’s SquareBut Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them ..."Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know -- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it." - Acts 2:14, 22-23
I always enjoy the readings from the Acts of the Apostles we have during the Octave and season of Easter. I find Acts captivating as it gives us glimpses into the early days of the Church. In the coming days we'll read about Peter and John, Paul will be mentioned in he comig weeks as will the great martyrdom of Stephen. It's exciting to read about those who paved the ways for us Catholics some few hundred years later!
Just days ago we read of how Peter denied Christ, and now he is standing before the men of Israel -- some of whom probably jeered our Lord and spit on his face -- boldly proclaiming the Resurrection.
What a lesson for us! How many times do we play the role of Peter by denying Christ in our lives? Looking at my own life, I can say far too many! It may not be as dramatic as Peter's denial, but when I fail to act in a charitable manner or when I gossip about someone, these are ways that I deny Christ. That being said, how to act after this denial? Do I dwell on it? Do I ignore it? Or, as so many spiritual greats suggest in the occasion of sin, do I acknowledge to myself and to my Lord that I have failed; that I am weak and I need Christ's help! Then do I turn to Christ, and renew my resolve to not deny or sin against him again? And then like Peter, do I begin once again proclaiming His name? (of course if the denial, that is the sin, is mortal sin, I must go to confession)
Easter is a time of joy, and a time of hope. Let's not fall into despair at the thought of a hostile world, or our own failings and shortcomings. Let us instead follow Peter's example: after a denial or fall, return to the Lord and become an even more fervent and bold witness for Him!

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