Saint Peter, as recounted in today’s Gospel, had to discover that he could not choose what to believe about Jesus’ role as the Christ, nor could he only accept what was comfortable for him. He did not want to hear of Jesus’ suffering and death. Together with the other disciples, he was told to take up his cross, deny himself and follow Jesus’ lead. It is a lesson Peter would ultimately learn, as the Lord later predicted: “‘Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ He said this signifying by what kind of death [Peter] would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” (John 21:18-19)
The Church gives us the elements of true religion and guides us in our search for meaning. Our faith is our assent to Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, as Saint Peter professed in last Sunday’s Gospel. To follow him with conviction requires self-denial and embracing God’s will for us. The Church guides us with the Sacred Scriptures, whose meaning is opened up for us by Sacred Tradition as articulated in our day in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments draw us into Christ and the community of the Church, with a willingness to share for the good of one another. In this vein Saint Paul’s advice concludes with the following admonition: “[B]e transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Discernment of God’s will is at the heart of vocational discernment. This is true as much for those discerning the vocation to marriage as for those considering a call to the priesthood or consecrated life. God has a plan for each of us. Saint Paul advised the Christians in Rome not to follow the ways of the world in discerning God’s will—in effect he was saying to follow your heart, not the world. Let us remember Timothy Reither in our prayers this week as he prepares to return to Rome for his last year of priestly formation and ordination to the diaconate on October 1.
This weekend we welcome Father Biju Kunjukutty, MSFS, for this year’s mission coop appeal. You may remember Father Biju as chaplain at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, who is now parochial administrator of St. Joseph Parish, St. Joseph Ridge; and St. Peter Parish, Middle Ridge. There is more information about this appeal elsewhere in the bulletin.
St. Peter’s School began classes last Tuesday and McDonell Area Catholic Schools begin this week. After an abrupt end to last year’s in-person classes and months of preparation to resume classes in the midst of a pandemic, we are all hoping to be able to stay in school. Saint Thomas Aquinas, patron of Catholic Schools, pray for us!
Pray the Rosary for all who are preparing to return to school, whether students or teachers. Pray for Timothy Reither and all our seminarians. Pray for the Missionary Society of Saint Francis de Sales. Pray for the development of a covid-19 vaccine and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.