Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
I have to admit that sometimes I get angry because I want to be angry. In certain cases, it is to control an otherwise chaotic situation, while in others, it is to distract from where my anger ought to be directed: at my own sinfulness.
St. Peter tried to show righteous anger by getting the Lord to lay off him. Jesus appeared to the Eleven, ate and drank with them, let them touch His glorified wounds, and sent them to establish the Church. Did they do that? No. A few verses before this, Peter and several others listlessly fell back into their old lives. Instead of being fishers of men, they were just fishers of… fish.
Not surprisingly, the Lord has to set a fire under Peter. However, Jesus is forthright about the difficulties Peter will face. It is intense. Rather than taking this as the dignity of his call, Peter starts to feel put upon. He deflects, pointing out St. John, the Beloved Disciple, and asking if Jesus’ favorite is going to have to suffer in this way, too. This case of “whataboutism” does not sway Jesus, and He reminds Peter that each of us has a unique call. Each of us in the Church is responsible for his or her own cooperation with grace.
It is tempting to look at those who do not follow Church teaching or hypocritical clergy and then use that as a reason to not strive for holiness ourselves. Rather than looking to the lowest common denominator, we should look to Christ. Again, those times in prayer when I want to come angry, to vent to the Lord, to act like I’m doing Him a big favor coming to adore Him—that is when He sets me straight: You are not here for me, I came for you.
Reflection by Fr. Pachomius Meade, OSB