Saturday, April 07, 2012
The Passionate Antagonists: 6 Simon Peter
Peter an Antagonist? Really?
While I've been reflecting on these characters from the crucifixion, I have been thinking of just how vulernerable, how fallible and how human they are, none more so than St Peter whose love for Christ is remarkable. Yet he falls spectacularly.
"The pathway to Hell is paved with good intentions" is, apparently, a paraphrase of St Bernard of Clairvaux and surely it applies to Peter who intends to follow Jesus to the end, and yet, when his life is threatened falls away as he denies his discipleship of Jesus three times.
Had he done this in the Diocletian Persecution, would he have been labelled traditor and barred from further office by the Donatists? Well, St Peter does form the case against Donatism.
Peter shows us clearly that even Christians fall away and reject Christ when it comes to the crunch. The Church is comprised of sinners who yet still manage to maintain the teaching of Christ. It is by that teaching that even the greatest Christians can be convicted of sin. So the Church, far from being corrupt, has in place a failsafe device that ensures that sin cannot be simply hidden under the carpet by shamed Christians. Often it takes folk without the Church to demonstrate it!
Mere adherence to the rules does not save us. We may fall again and again usually with habitual and ingrained sins. How can keeping the rules bring us back to God when we have broken them? We must keep the rules by first keeping Christ in order for that grace to grow.
What grace? See tomorrow.