Thursday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time
"On this rock I will build my Church"
Peter was to receive the keys of the Church, even more the keys of heaven. The government of a large number of people was to be entrusted to him… If Peter, with his tendency to severity, had remained without sin, how could he have given evidence of mercy for his disciples? However, according to the design of divine grace he fell into sin such that, after he himself had gained experience of his wretchedness, he might show kindness to others.
Now consider well : the one who yielded to sin was Peter himself, chief of apostles, firm foundation, indestructible rock, guide of the Church, impregnable harbor, indestructible tower, who had said to Christ: “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you” (Mt 26:35), he who confessed the truth by a divine revelation: “You are the Christ, Son of the living God.”
Now the gospel relates that, on the very night Christ was betrayed… a young girl said to Peter: “You, too, were with that man yesterday” and Peter answered: “I do not know the man” (Mt 26:69f.)… He, the column, the rampart, evades the suspicions of a woman… Jesus looked at him… Peter understood, repented of his sin and began to weep. And at that moment the merciful Lord granted him pardon…
Peter fell into sin so that awareness of his error and of the Lord’s forgiveness would lead him to forgive others out of love. Thus he fulfilled a providential design conforming to God’s way of acting. Peter, to whom the Church was to be entrusted, pillar of the churches (Gal 2:9), harbor of faith, who would teach the whole world, shows himself to be weak and a sinner. Indeed, truly, this was so that he might find in his own weakness a motive for exercising his goodness towards others.