Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are You John or Peter?

I recently came across this painting, and hereby proclaim it the Official Artwork of Running Catholic: Eugene Bernard's "Peter and John Running to the Tomb" (1898). The scene calls to mind John 20:3-4: "Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first."

I love the expression of concerned devotion on St. John's face and the look of utter awe and amazement on St. Peter's. It's as though St. John, although the more swift of foot, is a step behind St. Peter spiritually. St. John is worried that someone has absconded with Jesus' body. St. Peter, on the other hand, is already putting the meaning of these mysterious events together. Can it really be?

Which would help explain why it was St. Peter to whom Christ entrusted His church. Peter may not have been as strong, as nimble, or as fast as the others, and he made plenty of mistakes. (Even here, he is running to the spot where Our Lord isn't.) But He has been given a special grace."Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:17-18).

On my runs I often feel like St. Peter — not as speedy, toned, or young as the St. Johns out there, always a step behind. But that ought not be a cause for concern. God can do great things through both the Peters and the Johns of this world. To the one He entrusted His church; to the other, His most holy mother (Jn. 19:27). Both now dine with Him at the Heavenly Banquet.

What matters is not so much the gifts we have been given, but how faithfully we put them to use.

1 comment:

  1. this is beautiful! As a former runner and now a keen walker and cyclist, where can I order a print?