A primacy of Love and service
- The Risen Jesus at His table of forgiveness, gives Peter a chance to
undo his three denials of the Crucified one, and catechizes him into
a renewal of discipleship, along with John the beloved, to leave
behind a Church which is a community of Love, with Peter as "Prince"
(i.e., First) of the Apostles.
There is no doubt about Peter's Primacy. It is not a primacy of
power, but a primacy of Love and service that Jesus leaves him in
The Risen Jesus here promises Peter a primacy of witness as well--
a death like his own. The compiler of the evangel then notes the
martyrdom of Peter when he has Jesus prophesy "the kind of death by
which he would glorify God," for he said to him, "when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands and someone else will fasten a belt
around you and take you where you do not wish to go." And in spite of
that warning, "After this he said to him, 'Follow me'".
Eusebius, following Origen, records that Peter was crucified, head
down, in penance for having denied the Lord.
Peter, the Rock, became the Scandalon, the Stone of Stumbling, and
himself tripped on it. But unlike Judas he was rescued by the Risen
One, restored, and invited to share the Table forever with the Church
throughout the ages, and to feed the flock. Invited to that Table too
is Paul, who himself found Peter's denial a skandalon, and said
so "to his face." They are joined together with us in this day of
mutual forgiveness and our celebration of the founders of the City