I was thinking about Saint Thomas More the other day and I read again one of his letters to his daughter Margaret which he wrote while imprisoned in the Tower of London: “I am weak and frail, my dearest Margaret, but I will not distrust God’s goodness. If I become so terrified that I am in danger of defecting, I shall remember Peter beginning to sink because his faith was weak, and I shall cry out to Christ as he did, ‘Lord, save me.’ I hope that he will stretch out his hand and take hold of me and not let me sink. But even if he lets me play Peter’s part to the full and reject him, I hope that he will look on me with mercy as he did on Peter and raise me up to profess the truth. With great hope and trust then, I shall give myself to God.”
Although Saint Thomas More lived centuries after Saint Peter, you can see how deeply Peter’s witness impressed him.
And who can blame him? Simon Peter may have been impetuous and even cowardly at times, but you can’t deny that he loved Jesus deeply. We get a dramatic illustration of this love in today’s gospel, where he makes that bold statement of faith. Many of Our Lord’s followers were leaving him because of his teaching on the Bread of Life, but Peter was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, and he had no intention of walking away.
In one sense, Peter was being logical: where else could he go? Jesus was the only One whose words moved him, so it made sense to stay with him despite the teachings Peter couldn’t fully understand.
But in another sense, Peter was speaking from a conviction that went beyond human logic. His eyes had been opened, and his reason was being infused with grace. He could have gone home and resumed his stable life as a fisherman, but he decided instead to take a big risk and throw in his lot with Jesus.
Both Thomas More and Simon Peter risked everything on Our Lord. May their witness and their example always inspire us to make the right choices.