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Saint Peter

An exit to the whole world after some hardship

June 29th is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, pillars of Christianity. However, obstacles, slips and detours were not lacking in the journey of both life. The pillars of Christianity were men of flesh and blood, like all of us. And if they were like all of us, they were no lacking imperfections, insecurities, mistakes … In this article, we propose an itinerary through the words of Peter, in various moments of his adventure with Jesus. We leave the interpretation of Paul’s words for another moment. The reading we are about to give to some of Peter’s phrases is only a search for parallels between the life of one who is considered holy and the life of each of us – if he could stumble, we can too; if he got up and hoped, we can get up and hope too.
Saint Peter Ciro Cipollone
Our itinerary begins with a question: brave or coward? Which of these two words best describes Peter? There is no correct answer! St. Peter had moments in which his audacity came out … but also moments in which this audacity was covered by his wanting to feel SOMEONE. Doesn’t it happen to us too? We do (or declare) good, not for the good itself, but so that it can be seen by others… It is Peter who said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (cf. Mt 16:16), still in the full public activity of Jesus. It is Peter who declared: “I will lay down my life for you, [ Jesus]!” (see Jn 13:37), during the Last Supper; it is Peter who shortly after, when asked: “Aren’t you also one of his disciples?” replied: “I am not” (cf. Jn 18:25)… And there is nothing to be surprised about: it also happens to us that we make statements that cannot have any value until they are put to the test … The greatness of Peter does not lie in the words he has said so far … The greatness of Peter lies in the episode described in the Gospel of John, in chapter 21: He went fishing, he couldn’t catch anything. He trusted a foreigner who advised him to cast his nets where it no longer made sense to fish. He caught 153 fish, the 154th fish found it on the fire, prepared by the stranger, Jesus. Did anyone really have the time and the desire to count the fish caught that morning? Some interpretations say that 153 represents the number of fish species known at the time: if they caught 153 fish, it means that they caught ALL fish. But perhaps the most important number in this story is not 153, but 153 + 1 (the fish prepared on the fire) = 154, because:

154 = 77 x 2 

And it was always Peter who asked Jesus how many times we need to forgive when someone hurts us. Jesus replied: seventy times seven … it means ALWAYS (cf. Mt 18,21-22) … 154 therefore, means: I not only forgive you always, but I forgive you “always always” …
Accepting forgiveness, however, is never automatic. For this reason Jesus had to ask three times: “Do you love me more than these?”… Among “these” was also John, the disciple who did NOT betray. Pietro has betrayed. Could he then afford to answer yes to this question without deep reflection? Only after the third time did Peter understand that Jesus, asking this question, was asking for a confession that admitted his own betrayal. For this reason, only after the third time, he answered sadly: “Lord, you know everything” … and then added: “I love you” and with this declaration he stopped trusting his own abilities (even to love) and he started to trust the capacity (to love) of the OTHER. And this is why in the Acts of the Apostles (chapter 3) Peter was able to say to a lame person: “I don’t have silver and gold; but what I have, I give to you: in the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, [get up and] walk! ”. The Saint is a forgiven man and, consequently, free to give to others what is most precious to him. Discover the sculpture San Pietro di Ciro, Roberto Cipollone.