One of my favorite stories is about the little boy Matt riding a speeding bus. While all the others were very apprehensive and afraid, Matt was but excited and enjoying it. One of the passengers asked him why he was unmindful of the risk and danger that they were in, Matt just answered coolly: “I’m not afraid, as the driver is my father!”
Many times in our younger lives we were also like Matt. We were confident and not worried because we trust them — I remember when I was still a little child, we were in the beach for a swim with my father and when he asked me to swim towards him, I did it because “he’s my Dad.” Our parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and close friends — these are people who we’re sure will take care of us even when the going gets tough. They are so to say, “our pillars of strength”.
The Gospel proclaims,
“Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ they said in reply, ‘John the Baptist; others Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen,’ Then he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter said in reply, ‘The Messiah of God.’ He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.” (Lk.9: 18-22)
Peter’s answer was firm and without hesitation. It tells about his deep faith in the Lord. We notice that among the disciples, he was the one courageous and firm enough to affirm Jesus Christ as the Messiah. If we are going to do something substantial for God, we must step out in faith to Him. It means to leave our comforts behind and begin trusting Him.
This past week, Fr. Armand came back after a three-week absence, leading a retreat for priests in neighboring Malaysia. The homily he gave last Friday was particularly one of the most inspiring sermons I’ve heard so far. Upon reflection, we realize that Peter’s faith was such that he knew Jesus as “The” Lord and Savior. He knew faith requires that he will go anywhere the Lord will take him. While there were so many times that Peter failed the Lord, he persevered, so much so that he eventually gave up his life in martyrdom for Jesus. Just like the other disciples, who also died martyrs for Christ (with the exception of St. John the Beloved, who died of old age while in exile). It’s about “seeing through the joy despite the suffering”. The man of faith is one who sees. He knows that there is a reason for suffering, for pain, for dying. He in fact, sees more! This capability of seeing through, makes him even have that sense of humor about life!
In the end, the man of faith is a happy man. He realizes that there’s a lot more to life. Our faith therefore should lead us to enjoy and celebrate life! Knowing this, we realize that in our families, in our parishes, in our communities, in our companies as well, we are not just an organization but a group of people put together by God.