The Rescue of St. Peter

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The Crucifixion of St. Pete – Caravaggio (c-1600)

We Catholics are still in the midst of celebrating Easter. Yes, this is our longest liturgical season, lasting 50 days. Our readings have been from the first chapters of The Acts of the Apostles. This has always been one of my favorite books. If you are not familiar with the four Gospels, Acts may be challenging to follow. After the Ascension of Christ, Peter became the leader of the twelve apostles. He was a miracle worker who became a seasoned spokesman for the Christian community.

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The Crucifixion of St. Peter – Michelangelo

Simon Peter

Peter, also known as Simon Peter, was not always this holy depiction of Christianity. The Lord knew that Peter would deny Him not once but three times. The Lord also knew that Peter needed to be restored because of his cowardice. This is the reason Jesus questioned Peter about his love for Him.

Our merciful Lord showed His great love for Simon Peter by forgiving him for his denial. The Lord’s three questions erased Peter’s three denials. Peter had to have a clean slate because what God had in store for him was more than Peter could ever imagine.
We cannot work miracles if we have doubts about God or within ourselves. The Lord knows about all our weaknesses; that is why we are given a free will. We refrain from sin because God knows our hearts too. In Peter’s case, the many trials that he would have to endure would strengthen his spirit and cause him to trust God for all his needs.
The Ascension 
After Jesus’ Resurrection, He stayed and ministered to His apostles for forty days. Before His Ascension the Lord promised His disciples the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2-9). Jesus left His followers well prepared, but without their Lord they were uncertain about the future. After they witnessed Jesus ascend into heaven, they gathered in the Upper Room to pray.  (Acts 1:12-14)

I have been serving the Lord for most of my adult life. When I pray, sometimes I have doubts; at times I fall into a spirit of unbelief. Of course I dig my way out of this through prayer. Peter was an ordinary man as were the rest of Jesus’ apostles. God chose them because He believed in them. Our Lord knows when we are insecure and filled with doubt. Remember it was Peter who walked on the water, but as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus he fell. As soon as we take our eyes off of Jesus, we, too, will fall. In Peter’s case Jesus was there to help him up. In our real-life situations, Jesus will be there to catch us. Sometimes it’s a simple loss of footing, but at other times we fall on our faces, causing spiritual injury to ourselves. Peter was headstrong and knew that through every testing he was being refined.

St. Peter’s Basilica Rome

Receiving the Holy Spirit

In the gathering of the Upper Room, the apostles were all in one accord. When the power of the Holy Spirit filled the room, all their senses were alerted. The sound of thunder, the driving wind, the tongues of fire resting on each of them (Acts 2:1-4). These were the first Christians, and they were on fire for God. Nothing was going to get in their way; they had a mission to accomplish: to spread the Word of God to all nations.

Sometimes I don’t feel like attending daily Mass because I’m tired and I want to sleep a little longer. As I slowly get up, I make my way through my normal morning routine, then drag myself to Mass. It’s not always a great alleluia experience because my body is there but my mind is not. On days like these, it is only after receiving communion that the lethargic spirit is lifted from me. We are all on a mission, and it’s either to serve God or to serve man. The Holy Spirit has given each of us the same boldness that He gave to His first apostles. Peter’s boldness  landed him in jail several times.

There were so many obstacles that stood in the way of Peter’s freedom: the two chains on his hands, the two soldiers, the door, the two guards at his prison cell and the iron gate. Yet God freed him. When we examine our own obstacles and think that we will never be free of life’s chains, remember that God will send His emissaries to help us.
St. Peter was our first Pope. He was a simple, Jewish fisherman who became a great fisher of men. When St. Peter was crucified in Rome, he requested that he be crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to die as Christ died.

My Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for all of my blessings. I pray that we all develop the spirit of St. Peter. Give us the boldness of the Holy Spirit to spread Your message. Lord, we continue to pray for Ukraine and all that these precious people are enduring. Please put an end to this unnecessary war. Lord, I pray for a young man, Kaiden, who is currently in rehab due to drug abuse. I beg You, Lord, on his behalf to bring him and all others who are confined to the addiction to opioids. Open their prison doors and free them! Amen.

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