Do you know St. Peter the Apostle?
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We invite you to accompany us on our last stop along the Twelve Apostles' Journey.
Today, we're going to explore the life and mission of the apostle Peter.
You might be wondering why the name Simon Peter and not just Peter? It's because when this great apostle first began to follow Jesus, our Lord himself called him Simon Bar-Jona (Matt 16:17).
We are introduced to Simon when Jesus sees him at the Sea of Galilee, cleaning his nets after a night of unsuccessful fishing (Matt 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11). Jesus tells him to put the boat out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch. Simon, tired and doubtful, says what is on his mind: "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets" (Luke 5:5). The result was a catch so big that it nearly sunk two boats.
Although Simon is astonished by this miracle and a little afraid of what it might mean, Jesus calms his fears, saying, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men" (Luke 5:10).
Matthew's gospel tells us more about Jesus' plan for Simon (see Matt 16:13-19). It also explains how Simon came to be called Peter. While Jesus was walking with his disciples, he asked them a pointed question: "Who do you say that I am?" Simon replied: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
After this profession of faith, Jesus changed Simon's name to signal his new vocation, saying:
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt 16:18-19)
With these words, Jesus promised to give Peter authority over the Church as its earthly steward and leader of the apostles.
Peter, of course, had his weaknesses. He is sometimes uncertain, fearful, zealous, and even rash (Matt 16:21-23; 26:69-75). Nevertheless, Peter resolved to follow Christ with all his strength, displaying a firm faith and a strong inward love of his Savior.
So great was his love that when the Emperor Nero ordered his execution, he chose to be crucified upside-down as a sign of his humility and fidelity to Christ. It is said that, during his suffering, he continued to proclaim the gospel to those who passed by.
Like Saint Peter, we are called to become Apostles in Christ.
Your mission is to help us teach others the richness, beauty, and tradition of our Catholic faith. You see, there are tens of thousands of families who need to know Jesus. They need to know about their faith.
We are asking you to honor the 12 Apostles by joining in their ongoing apostolic mission of the whole Church. How? By praying, learning from St. Peter, saying yes to the call of Jesus in your own life, engaging in the mission to evangelize and teach the faith, and by giving $12 a month.
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