21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 27, 2017)

In today’s Gospel we experience Peter firmly identifying Jesus as the “Christ, the Son of the living God.” St. Francis de Sales has much to say about St. Peter:

God does not always choose the holiest to govern and to serve in His Church. Our Lord chose Peter as Chief of the Apostles even though he was subject to many imperfections. Peter, filled with much zeal, was apt to be impetuous. While he followed our Savior with his whole heart, he stumbled many times after his initial calling.

He boasted that he would never abandon Our Lord. Yet, he found himself cursing Him and saying that he never knew Him. That pierced our Lord’s heart!

Yet, Our Lord did not reject Peter, since He was sure that St. Peter had a strong and constant determination to correct himself. Peter ought to have relied on Our Lord’s power than to trust in the fervor that he felt. Peter’s natural disposition to cater to his feelings and desires was in part the cause of his lapses. When we experience certain lapses in our on-going conversion, we must not abandon our quest for holiness. Like Peter, let us have a strong and constant determination to take the measures needed to correct ourselves. Then we too will receive special favors and blessings on earth and in heaven.

What a great reason to anchor our hope and confidence completely in Our Lord! For even after spending one’s life in horrible crimes and iniquities, one can find forgiveness when one returns to the Source of our Redemption, Christ. We must not listen to the voice that tells us that our faults are unpardonable. We must say boldly that our God died for all. No matter how ungodly one is, he or she will find redemption in our Savior. Let us consider with what patience our divine Savior awaits those who reject Him. Then like Peter, we may say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” our Redeemer.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)