My Dear Sisters and Brothers! We believe that God wants us to do good but this celebration of Good Friday faces us with even more striking belief: If we get into a trouble, when we sin, when we are at our lowest, even if no one else hears that there is a big bang piercing the highest heaven and waking up even the laziest angels and Our God, Our Heavenly Father is frantically rushing to help us. If you miss that point you will never comprehend and appreciate the story of Jesus’ trial, way of the cross, his crucifixion and his glorious resurrection.
Have you noticed that Jesus was never alone during his Passion? And I don’t simply mean that this Father was always with him. Jesus in his Passion was always for others like a parent drawn to where the crying of their child comes from. Let’s look at one person from the passion story. The first pope. His name was Simon. His surname was BAR-JONAH. The name Peter which Jesus gave him was like a nickname. As you know nicknames capture some characteristics of the person. Spiky may apply to someone whom you better keep distance from as they can sting you with their words or attitude. Softy may mean that you better be complimenting them all the time otherwise they will spend weeks sobbing. What does Peter mean? Rock. We are very lucky that English reflects exactly the same dynamic of the word rock like Jesus’ native tongue: Aramaic. It doesn’t work in other languages but it works perfectly in English. What does it mean that someone is like rock? It means that the person is reliable, dependable, strong etc. However let’s go to another situation. Imagine yourself planning your dream cruise holiday and your friends upon hearing which ship you are going to board say to you: “This ship is rocking.” Would you be saying: “Hurray, let’s go!”? When Jesus called Simon Cephas in Aramaic – Rock he proved to be a good judge character. There were to be moments when Simon was to be like a solid rock: dependable and reliable, when people could support themselves on him. However there were also to be moments when Simon was to be rocky like in the Passion narrative we had today. There we are: that’s your Rocky One.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ! The reason that Christians has venerated Rocky One so much is that we all can find ourselves caught in the same dynamic. Each one of us could claim the name Rocky Eight Billion Something. There are moments when people can support themselves on us but there are also moments when people can get sea sickness from supporting themselves on us. That’s why this celebration of the Paschal Mystery enables us to put that rocky business in the context of Jesus. What Peter did that night of Jesus’ trial wasn’t to look well in his CV. But it must have been Peter who made sure that that bit was included in the Gospel narrative. Why? Because it was to reveal Jesus’ mercy. Afterwards Peter was so overwhelmed by Jesus’ forgiveness that he used the story of his shortcoming to expose the mercy of the Risen Lord.
Our Rocky One treasured for life that when he was at his lowest Christ came rushing to his help, not because Peter had enough star awards but because Christ loved his the same way he was loved by his Heavenly Father.