Sunday, August 31, 2014

Highs and Lows for Simon Peter

I'm going to keep to my Simon Peter theme for another week. 

Just last week, Matthew told us that Jesus glorified Peter as His Rock - the foundation He would build his Church on.  

As far as praise goes, that is about as good as it gets!  Peter must have been on top of the world hearing those words from our Savior.

But we know it was not all rainbows and sunny skies for Peter.  In this week's Gospel we hear the exact opposite.  

Our Lord lays one of the harshest insults possible on His Rock.  

He calls Him Satan. 

I'm sure once Peter figured out why he was getting yelled at, he felt the sting of that one. And such was life for Simon Peter.  A few steps forward, and then a few steps back.

Kind of reminds me of someone I know.  


As Shirley commented on my post last week, God did not choose a perfect man to lead His church.  He chose one with human weakness that was frequently on display.  One who stumbles often, but is given the strength to do better next time.  

It sure is inspirational, isn't it?  

I pray that our Lord blesses us with even half the strength that He gave Peter!

God Bless you.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Few Random Things about Simon Peter

In today's Gospel, Jesus refers to Peter as son of Jonah.  

Which got me thinking ... I know nothing about Jonah.  Well, I know about the Jonah of whale fame, but nothing about Jonah, (known as Jonas or John) the man that was the father of Simon Peter.  

I looked all over the internet for some information about this man, and the best I could find was that he was basically not the other Jonah.  

But I did come across some interesting information about St. Peter I thought I would share with you.  

  • For example, the house that he lived in is believed to still be standing today!  It is covered by a church but you can still see parts of it.
  • We know that Peter was from Bethsaida, of course, but I didn't realize how much Greek influence there probably was in that area at that time.  
  • Peter was, of course, a fisherman.  Fisherman back in Jesus' time often fished at night with torches.  They sometimes used dragnets - nets that were as long as 300 feet.  Two boats would go out to sea, each with an end of the dragnet, and then paddle in opposite directions to circle the fish and close up the net.  Alternatively they used cast nets - nets that had to be skillfully thrown so they landed open on the water.  This way, when they sunk down, they captured as many fish as possible.  (It is this method that Peter and the apostles were using on a few occasions in the Gospels)
  • It is possible that Peter, like his bother Andrew, was a disciple of John the Baptist.
  • Peter's name is mentioned in the new testament more than any other apostle - over 190 times.  That didn't surprise me, but the fact that that number is almost 4 times more than the next closest apostle (John) did.
  • Finally, Peter's name is almost always listed first when he is mentioned with anyone other than Jesus.  In fact, there is only one time it is not.  Galatians 2:9.

God bless.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Musings on the feeding of the five thousand

Last Sunday we heard Matthew's version of the feeding of the five thousand.  

As I listened to the story for what must have been the five thousandth time (although one can never hear it enough!), I decided to capture some of my thoughts:

  • I reminded myself that this is the only miracle to appear in all four Gospels, highlighting what an amazing event this must have been
  • Matthew starts by telling us that Jesus was upset about John the Baptist's death and thus withdraws to be by himself, an no doubt, to mourn.  Yet, he selflessly puts that on hold when he sees an opportunity to preach and potentially save the lives of others.  
  • Jesus does not feed the masses by himself.  Notice that he tells his Apostles to.  The same thing applies to us today I suppose.  He could snap his fingers and feed all the hungry in all the world, but he is asking us to.  
  • God does not give exactly the right amount of food.  There are twelve wicker baskets- full left over.  A reminder that He is so generous ... He gives us more than we will ever need.
  • I remember reading once how people would use various elevations or wind direction to ensure there voice would travel far enough for all to hear.  But still, speaking so 5,000 people can hear you can't be that easy.
  • By the way, we always refer to five thousand.  But note that Matthew states that that does not include women and children.  I wonder what that number really was.  
 God Bless you.