Kodi & Peter

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One of my dogs, Kodi, is very old, blind, and arthritic. He always walks in front of me, like a good sled dog. But in truth, with his slow, stumbling pace, he is an obstacle for me. “Get behind me, Kodi!” I might plead. Being who he is, Kodi gives a quick glance back at me, smiles and lurches forward, for a few steps. Then he pulls up again, checks back on me to reassure me he is still leading the way, convinced he is doing the right thing. He sees our way together through a sled dog’s eyes and does the best he can.
Peter, like Kodi, sees through the eyes of who he is. He makes mistakes, misunderstands, and struggles with the confusion. Sometimes he “gets it” and lurches forwards. At other times, like in today’s reading, his human viewpoint gets in the way and he seemingly stalls out. It is natural that in his effort to love and serve, he wants to protect Jesus from danger. Without divine inspiration, his human nature is blind to the necessity of the Passion. He doesn’t see as God does. Christ rebukes him for being in the way, but also explains the viewpoint difference.

Our human nature is full of worldly attachments and fears; they define our past and who we came to be. But these are stumbling blocks in our path to God. The call to discipleship doesn’t promise wealth, happiness, or problem free living. A true disciple must let go of an earthly, self centered viewpoint. His life must extend ever outwards, ready to sacrifice all for Christ. As disciples, we need to change our viewpoint. We must not cling to our wants and fears, but put our trust unreservedly in God.

Kodi is an old dog – he cannot change. But we can. While we can’t change our background, we can choose who we will now become. We can change the viewpoint we are going to use when faced with the challenges of daily life. We can be smug, fearful, discouraged, or vengeful. We can let self interests distort our reality. Or, we can put our faith in God, use patience, and be willing to act with love even when we don’t understand everything.

As we proceed through life, we will also stumble. We haltingly check with God, to reassure ourselves that we are at least facing the right direction, but still there will be discouraging times when we are sure we have made no progress towards a Godly life. We need to remember our vision isn’t the same as the Father’s. While God does hold us disciples accountable for our actions, he is loving, patient, and forgiving. We need to be patient and forgiving with ourselves, also. Like Kodi and Peter, we just need to keep trying.

Linda Crowley