FEast: June 29th
fishermen, bridges, harvest, fever, the Pope
Peter, known as Simon until his renaming by Jesus, was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew when Jesus first met them out on their boat. He was possibly a follower of John the Baptist, first. We also know that he was married, and likely had children, since Jesus heals his mother-in-law, whom he was living with, in a Gospel story. Tradition holds that his wife was also martyred, though we do not have any other information about her or the rest of his family.
After Jesus performs a miraculous catch for the brothers and they leave to follow him, Peter quickly begins to stand out as the leader of the group. Not only is he usually listed first among the 12, but many times, Jesus singles him out, or he answers for the entire group. Then, when Jesus performs the miracle of walking on water, Peter is the one to step out after him, sinking when his faith wavers. Jesus himself tells Peter that he will be the rock (the meaning of his name) on which he will build the Church. Along with James and John, Peter was also given the privilege to witness Jesus' Transfiguration, as well as his other miracles.
When Jesus is condemned, Peter tries to defend him by cutting off the ear of a soldier, which Jesus repairs. Later, as Jesus predicted, Peter denies him three times as the crucifixion occurs.
After Jesus' Resurrection, when the women come to tell him about the empty tomb, Peter is described to have run all the way with St. John to indeed find it empty. Jesus later appears to him several times, including one in which he gives Peter the chance to redeem himself for his betrayal.
According to the Acts of the Apostles, Peter was a central figure in the early Church. Though St. Paul disagreed with him on his conservative idea that Gentiles could not be baptized, Peter did in fact change his mind and baptized a man named Cornelius and his whole household himself. He also chose leaders for new Christian communities, and was the first to emerge and begin preaching and performing miracles after Pentecost, in the first place.
For this leadership and strong faith and devotion, Peter was arrested and imprisoned, but an angel supposedly released him, and he was able to continue his leadership for a time.
He likely was killed by crucifixion around the year 64 by the Emperor Nero who blamed Christians for the great fire in Rome. St. Jerome wrote that Peter chose to be crucified upside down, however, declaring that he was unfit to die in the same way as Jesus.
He was buried near Rome according to tradition, and the Emperor Constantine built a church over the spot that was held to be the exact location.
you made so many mistakes, regretted many things, & were afraid & cowardly. But Jesus not only forgave you, he taught you to love others as you love yourself, so despite these things, you must learn to love yourself to be able to love these others. Remind us that God wants us to enjoy these bodies and minds he created, & find them good, like he does. Amen.
Peter, his brows bent in a continuous question, looks ahead at his mission, purpose, and what is to come. He wears a cross around his neck and has a tattoo in the shape of keys - for his role as the gatekeeper to Heaven.