Friday, April 5, 2013

Peter at the Head: A Lesson in Leadership

 This was a reflection given today, 4/5/2013 on the readings from Acts 4:1-12, Ps 188, and Jn 21:1-14. They may be found here, though I tried to write in a way that you wouldn't necessarily have to read them--but they are recommended.

Peter is the leader of both these Scripture passages and present us with lessons about human leadership. Peter, because of his temperament, was a leader. Scripture, when it lists the Twelve (or any group of them) always names him first, and he teaches us by his example both positively and negatively. The way light is used, additionally, helps us to discern the meaning behind his actions.

In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter and John enter the temple because they are on their way to the 3 o'clock hour of prayer (cf. Acts 3:1-10). As they go on their way to pray with everyone else they encounter a man begging at the temple gate. Peter said to him first “I can neither give you silver or gold … but what I do I have I give you … Jesus the Nazorean” (Acts 3:6). Peter promised him nothing earthly. He did not promise him healing nor did he promise him a life of wealth. He rather gave him Christ and the crippled man became strong.

By his example Peter showed us how the weak and infirm are made strong through Jesus Christ. He also showed us that those of us who are strong now should look kindly on the elderly, weak, and sick and never deprive Christ from their presence. The moment the two encountered this man in the power of the Spirit, he entered the temple praising God.

This was after the Resurrection, after Peter had encountered Christ and had been instructed by Him personally. In the Gospel we see the process it took for Peter to get there.

In the evening Peter again takes the initiative by saying “I am going fishing” (Jn 21:3) and the others follow. The Evangelist John notes that they caught nothing and it was during the night. They labored in darkness and Peter led them into darkness. By morning they had nothing to show for their labors. This is the danger of any human leadership, that we might mislead them. All the same no one complained and no one abandoned Peter in his labor—they went out together and remained faithful to one another.
Dawn came, and the moment Peter could be sure it was Christ, he hurried to Him.
Then dawn came, can Jesus stood along the shore. He commanded them to cast their nets into the sea, the same labor they did in darkness, and immediately their nets were full. The one who loved Jesus, John, pointed out that it was Jesus who lead them. Upon hearing this Peter girded himself and ran towards Christ, jumping into the sea to get at him before anyone else. Peter, where he had misled his brethren now leads them again. He had been in error, but when the Truth had been pointed out to him he ran to it. Jesus commanded His disciples to bring him their catch, and again Peter was the first to bring all they had.

Scripture teaches us simply, brothers and sisters, that there will be those who lead us and that at times they will be in error. But if they preach Christ and know Christ they will follow after him first and foremost. Will we allow ourselves to lead when we find Christ? Will we allow ourselves to be led?

We know that we have much to give, but we must first give Christ to others. Labor in the light of Christ and bring all you have to him, then your work will be blessed and others will emerge from darkness and praise God.


There are many other rich meanings to these passages, especially the Gospel. I wish I could review them all, especially the parallels and differences between Lk 5:1-11 and this Gospel. Maybe I will in the future.

Please feel free to leave a comment on content, or a critique on style/presentation. Thanks again!