In recent months, I have done or failed to do at least three things that make my stomach churn. Now don't get distracted wondering what those things were! A couple of you will know, since I caused needless offense. But sharing details beyond those who already know is the very LAST thing anyone would want to do.
So, I always feel great empathy for Peter when reading the Gospel in today's Daily Office readings, the account of Peter denying Jesus three times right after swearing he would never, ever abandon him. We've all had our worst moments. Thankfully they usually stay private, although if secrets start to infect the soul, some exposure may be necessary for healing. Peter's worst moment has been shared with all of humanity for all time. Ouch!
But, of course, it wasn't shared just to sell magazines at the checkout stand. It was shared with a purpose. Peter's later confession of faith was made the rock upon which the church was built. The message there is plain: God works well with sinners. In fact, God seems to work better with penitent sinners who see their need to lean on God than with the self-sufficient. "A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (Psalm 51:17).
No matter how small we feel in the face of our shortcomings, God can do marvelous things through us. That means God can also do marvelous things with all the knuckleheads who irritate us. May we cherish one another in that knowledge.