Death: 64 AD
Feast Day: June 29
Symbols: Boat, keys, rooster
Bio: St. Peter was originally known as Simon. He was a native of Bethsaida and worked on Lake Genesareth as a fisherman. His brother was Andrew. Both are believed to have originally been disciples of John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin. He was present at the first miracle, the turning of water into wine (Jn 2:1-11). He’s mentioned in the Bible more than any other apostle.
What marvels me the most about Peter is his humanity. Out of all the apostles, Peter is the one I identify with the most. I love the scene in Luke when Jesus calls Peter (Lk 5:1-11) When Peter witnesses an honest-to-goodness miracle, he does what I’m sure quite a few of us would have done. He immediately says “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man!” (Lk 5:9) He knows that Jesus is a prophet, a man that he must follow. When Peter acknowledges Jesus as the Son of God, it is at this moment Jesus gives him his new name and rank. (Mt. 16:16-18)
But it is also important that Peter is one of the two apostles who betray Jesus. Why is Peter so revered, while Judas is scorned? I think it is because of what happens afterward. When Judas betrays Jesus, he is so fraught with guilt that he does not even consider that there may still be hope. Instead, he commits suicide. Peter, on the other hand, is repentant and attempts to seek forgiveness.
I have often wondered if I were in Peter’s position, what would I do differently? Would I be bold enough to acknowledge Jesus? Would I, when pressed by someone who could persecute me, instead show cowardice? Probably so, and yet, I know in my heart that Jesus acknowledges my shortcomings. He knows perfection is impossible for me, but he sends me trials to bring me closer to Him; to force me to realize my own fallacies and to attempt to improve myself.
This is why I consider Peter someone all of us, Catholic or not, to admire.