Mass Reading & Meditation for August 8, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 16:13-23
Saint Dominic, Priest
“Who do you say that I am? (Matthew16:15)”
The first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope was French acrobat Charles Blondin. Actually, Blondin crossed several times. A true showman, he never used a harness and yet he walked: backwards, on stilts, and blindfolded. He did somersaults, and even wheel barrowed out a stove and cooked omelets on it! But while spectators watched from the safety of land, perhaps the most courageous thing that happened on the wire was that his manager, Harry Colcord, rode across the falls on Blondin’s back!
Having observed Blondin for some time, Colcord didn’t just give lip service to Blondin’s abilities, but demonstrated—at the risk of his life—his full faith in him. Similarly, today’s Gospel reading finds Jesus asking his observers for more than just opinion or impersonal knowledge about who he is. He wants his disciples to grasp the depth of who he is, and put their full faith into him. And so Peter responds, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
At first blush, it seems that Peter made the leap that Colcord made. But he wasn’t really there yet. The foundation was there, but Peter would still struggle and misstep before becoming Saint Peter, pontiff and martyr. He would still run away when Jesus was arrested. He would still deny him three times. But after a few false starts and a steep learning curve—plus the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost—Peter did step out onto the high wire and demonstrate that he was ready to commit his whole life to Jesus.
You may feel more like Peter and less like Colcord. But that’s okay. Jesus was patient with Peter, and he is patient with you. Day after day, he gives you opportunities to step out—many of them small, but occasionally something big. As you try your best to walk by faith and yield your temptations to him, he will become your strength. And even if, like Peter, you lose your nerve—think of him walking on the water—Jesus will pick you up and keep working with you. He never tires of asking, “Who do you say that I am?” And he never tires of giving you man different opportunities to answer him in faith and trust.
“Jesus, you have given your life for me. Help me to put my whole life into your hands.”
Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9