The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

Thinking Again

August 6, 2017 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

August 6, 2017
Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9
Fr. George Smiga

Peter is one of the most important saints of the Christian tradition. He is the first of the apostles, the rock on which Jesus builds the church. The New Testament tells us many things about Peter. In fact in the gospels no other character is mentioned more than Peter with the exception of only Jesus himself. So what do the scriptures tell us about Peter? They tell us that he often speaks up with confidence, and that he is just as often wrong. Peter is the one who tries to convince Jesus to avoid the cross. Peter refuses to have his feet washed at the Last Supper. Peter thinks he can walk on water and sinks. Peter denies Jesus three times during Jesus’ trial. And in today’s gospel, Peter is the one who comes up with this bizarre idea of setting up tents on the Mount of Transfiguration. When you examine the incidents that refer to Peter, they are one blunder after another. Generally whenever Peter opens his mouth, he discovers that his foot is in it.

Now it might seem odd that this often-misguided disciple should become one of the greatest saints of the church. But flawed saints are the best saints, because they are like us and teach us how to live. What does Peter teach us? Peter shows us that following Jesus often involves the ability to re-evaluate our convictions.  Peter regularly speaks up with boldness and confidence. But when he discovers that he is wrong, he is willing to change. In time he comes to accept that Jesus must bear the cross. He allows Jesus to wash his feet at the Last Supper. He repents of his denial of Jesus during the Passion. He lets go of the strange idea of pitching tents on the mountain. What Peter shows us is that part of discipleship is to re-examine our ideas, learn from our mistakes, and have the capacity to think again. This willingness to change is essential for both spiritual and personal growth.

Your spouse says something that irritates you, a son or daughter speaks out of turn, and you are quick to push back and say, “This is what’s going to happen. This is what is acceptable.” Your words are quick and hot, but are they the best? Can you with Peter think again, swallow your mistake, and start over. In this polarized political climate certain words trigger an immediate response: healthcare, immigration, tax reform. When one of these words is spoken, we speak our piece; we dig in our heels. But when we begin to realize that none of us is going to move forward with everyone dug into a ditch, can we be like Peter. Can we admit we spoke too quickly? Can we dial the energy back a bit and try again? Every time we face a transition in life, a transition resulting from divorce, retirement, or the loss of a loved one, we can be quick to adopt a conclusion. We claim our ground and say, “This is possible and this is not. This is what I will consider and this is what I will not do.” But once we see we are standing alone and going nowhere, can we admit with Peter, “I jumped too quickly. My thinking was misguided. I think I should re-consider my options.”

Revaluating our thinking is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of maturity and growth. This is why God gives us time to change. So the next time you speak too quickly and find that your foot is in your mouth, don’t bite down. Remove your foot, and like Peter—think again.

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