Peter certainly had his moments, highs and lows on his journey of discipleship. In today’s gospel we see both sides, the sainted rock and foundation of the Church, who through grace acclaimed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and the sinner, an obstacle to Jesus, “thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Peter was very human in his rejection of suffering and death. It took time for him to understand that suffering and sacrifice for the sake of others are the “keys to the Kingdom of heaven.”
A miracle occurs when what is seen and experienced as an obstacle transforms through the grace of God into a source of life. In the first reading, a rock brought forth life in the desert. Jesus knew that the way to new life was through being broken open for the well-being of others. Peter, the Church, and we ourselves require continual renewal. When we become calcified and stuck in our ways through either fear or simply routines, we must ask for the desire to be broken open so the life we receive from Christ may continue to be poured out for others. The psalmist calls out: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
St. Dominic, whose feast we celebrate today, was inspired to find a new way of sharing of the faith by breaking from tradition to found the Order of Preachers. Instead of living apart from the world in monasteries, Dominicans share the gospel on the road through preaching and service. Along with St. Francis, a contemporary in this new movement, St. Dominic was a source of inspiration for St. Ignatius who would later follow their pattern, forming his new company, the Society of Jesus, to be “contemplatives in action.”
Where am I experiencing resistance to suffering and sacrifice?
What area of my life right now is in most need of being broken open?