In the Gospel today, Jesus turned to the twelve Apostles after many of his disciples walked away to see if they, too, wanted to leave. But Saint Peter said those sweet words, “[T]o whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Saint Peter knew full well that he needed Jesus’ help, and that without Jesus, he would be lost. He provides us with the prime example of what happens to us when we try to do it alone. He failed to walk on water when he took his eyes from Jesus. He denied Christ three times when Jesus was no longer by his side. He hid in fear until Pentecost, and only with the aid of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, did Saint Peter confidently go about doing the work of God as he did in the First Reading from Acts.
I know full well the feeling of failure when I stop relying on God, when I turn my gaze from Him and try to make it on my own.
Too many times I have tried to press through a hard situation on my own without seeking His divine aid and consolation. Like today, when I had a rough morning getting people out the door: this one won’t get dressed, that one is taking her own sweet time with her breakfast, the other one can’t find her boot, I accidentally dump the box of hats and mittens all over the floor, we run in five minutes late, and that one begins to sob about dropping her mitten back there. And I want to pull out my hair and look to the heavens and cry, “WHY?” It is that moment of looking to Heaven that I remember Him. Maybe if I had thought of Him sooner, I would have been more charitable to those with whom I have been entrusted.
Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, “It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.” He is telling us that only with the aid of the Holy Spirit can we live the life of holiness to which we are called. On our own, we are flailing about, but with the Spirit we can do the hard things with joy and peace.
Living in the Spirit did not save Saint Peter from hardship: he still underwent imprisonment, ridicule, and martyrdom, but he did it knowing that true life comes from the Spirit. Even when this Christian life is hard, the world thinks we are crazy, the truths are hard to grasp, and the struggle to love is real, we need to remember that there is no one else to go to. Only Jesus has the words of eternal life. And eternal life is what we are meant for.
How are you trying to manage without Christ? Is it in the big, hard things? Or in the little things day to day? Try today to remember that He is with you in all things at all times, and stop trying to do it alone.
Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, toddler boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.