Lenten Gospel Reflections, Day 42: St. Peter, Archetype

During this season of Lent, I will be working through Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten Gospel Reflections (available through Word on Fire). Each day, I will share the readings and the reflection question, followed by my own thoughts.

April 12, 2022

While reclining at the table with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and testified,
21 “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; 24 so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” 25 So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night. 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; 32 if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times.”

The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Jn 13:21–38). (2006). Ignatius Press.

Reflect on this and other Gospel stories about Peter. In what ways is he an appropriate archetype of the Church?

I’ll start by sharing Bishop Barron’s reflection on this passage: When Jesus forgives Peter three times for his three denials, Peter is commanded to tend to Christ’s sheep. In the same way, we who have been given love and forgiveness are to give love and forgiveness to others.
Now, on to my own thoughts on the question of the ways that Peter is an archetype of the Church.

  1. Rather than acknowledging Christ’s commandment to love one another, we busy ourselves with theological bickering (John 13:34-37).
  2. We are called to be the light of the world, but we slip into hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-14).
  3. We are commanded and empowered to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 2:14-41).

Jesus, You commanded Peter to forgive his brother not “seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). You modeled this for us by forgiving those who crucified You. You forgave us, then called us back to Yourself so that we might share Your love and forgiveness with others. Open my eyes to see the areas in my life where I, who have received such an undeserved kindness, have withheld it from others.


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