It rained yesterday. Even though the sun is shining today, I know it is going to rain. Why am I so sure? because, since it rained yesterday, today must turn out the same.
What an illogical statement! Of course, yesterdays weather is no sure guide to todays. The weather changes all the time. Yet, when it comes to people, this is the kind of illogic we frequently use.
If it were modern times and were Saint Peter campaigning for the position of prince of the Apostles, I can just imagine the propaganda of his opposition:
Dont vote for Simon. How can you trust him? When the going gets tough, he gets going. Remember Golgotha? Where was he when the Lord was being crucified? John was at the foot of the cross where was Simon hiding? Do you want to be led by a coward?
Simon is an out-and-out liar. He publicly swore before witnesses that he wasnt from Galilee, wasnt a disciple and didnt know Jesus. Can you imagine a man like that with leadership responsibility in the Church?
Simon doesnt know what hes talking about. The Lord spent weeks trying to get the disciples to understand he was to suffer as Messiah all Simon could do was to voice feeble assurances that everything was fine, that there was no need for worry. Remember, Jesus himself had to put him in his place.
Simon failed as a fisherman; he often caught nothing. He abandoned a responsible fishing business without a thought for the future. He ran all over the countryside instead of caring for his wife and home. How can you count on him?
Even so, Jesus picked this very fearful, blundering, blustering, impulsive follower to strengthen his fellows and shepherd the Church.
The frightened fisherman who fled from Calvary became the fearless father of the flock. The denier of the suffering Messiah in Jerusalem bravely faced a death similar to his in Rome.
The Simon Peter of yesterday is not the Simon Peter of today or tomorrow.
People repent and change. Daily, new experiences prompt us to new understandings and decisions. We grow day by day, discovering new strength and wisdom. The grace of God is powerfully operative in each of our lives.
How can we be so illogical regarding other persons? Or, perhaps the question is, how can we be so merciless and unforgiving regarding other persons? How can I be so sure that todays you is exactly the same as yesterdays you?
Naturally, we use this peculiar illogic only with others. When it comes to ourselves, we know full well that we change and grow. Oh, the so many deeds of the past that we repent of and wish undone. But, with the help of God, we do not necessarily repeat yesterdays mistakes and failures today and tomorrow.
Lord, help me to use the right logic with every other person for it is the logic of compassion and love that you use with me.
Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern