Thursday, April 21, 2011
chasing Peter with a broom
The story of Peter's betrayal proves beyond a doubt that I do not have the mind of Christ.Peter is always James Farentino for me.He who played the saint in "Jesus of Nazareth."Tall, dark, curly hair,piercing eyes and a befuddled look.That's who I see as I chase him down Main St.in Jonesboro with my broom.He can hear me shrieking,"After all I've done for you,you betray me three times."Whack on the backs of his legs.I go on,"I saved you from the drudgery of fishing and warned you but NO, you'd never betrayed me,you love me"Take that",whack.Poor man.
But that is not how the story goes;he comes sniveling back and is forgiven and then becomes Peter, the Rock upon whom the Church is built.But maybe this wasn't a reward,perhaps it was a punishment.Who would want that role? Can you imagine this motley group of men and a few women trying to carry on after Christ leaves.All egos and elbowing for important roles and trying to figure out what they are doing,what is the message,who really was this Christ that they wanted the world to know about ?What is to be written down,what is important,what does it mean ?And I have to lead this chaos?
The church I attend is named after an Italian saint,Philip Benizi.He was elected Pope back in the 1200s and headed for the mountains until they found someone else.History tells that he was so humble,he didn't feel worthy of the task; perhaps smart,too.
I think of Pope John Paul ll trying to pastor billions of Catholics and then for his pains being shot at close range several times,in Rome in 1981.My first thought after recovering would have been:"What am I doing here in Rome ?I love Poland and hiking.How can I get out of this?I've given enough and almost my life."
But the Christ mind would,with grace, seek God's glory in this terrible mess.So,in 1983,the Pope walked into the cell of Mehet Agca,the would be assassin ,called him brother and forgave him.Later, he was to befriend the Turkish man's whole family.Rumor has it that Agca wept bitterly when the Pope died.That miracle is what the Mind of God can do.I am far from it,but I pray for it.
Peter still has a hold on us.When I was in Rome in 2004,I twice visited Peter's tomb under the altar at St.Peter's Basilica.As I knelt the man next to me was weeping.Two different men,moved by Peter in some way.Maybe, he was the right choice.