Thursday, August 4, 2011

Memorial of Saint John Vianney, priest

(Numbers 20:1-13; Matthew 16:13-23)

St. John Vianney is universally admired for his dedication to ministry. Feeling called to the priesthood, he pursued his goal doggedly although he was handicapped by never having mastered Latin as a child. Once ordained, however, he became widely respected as a confessor and listened to confessions throughout the day. Like Peter in the gospel today, John Vianney was inspired by God to reach beyond personal limitations to new heights.

Most significant about Matthew’s presentation of the famous happening in Caesarea Philippi is Jesus’ declaration that God the Father reveals to Peter the truth of Jesus’ identity. It is not Peter’s own perspicacity or anyone else’s that allows him to know who Jesus is. For this reason Jesus sees him the one chosen from above to lead the incipient church after his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to heaven.

We followers of Christ are not necessarily the brightest or the strongest people. Certainly there are many exceptions but most of us are rather ordinary in makeup. Yet like John Vianney and the apostle Peter God has graced us with a special calling. We are to make Jesus known in the world by our love for one another and our efforts to create a just society.