Imagine for a moment that you are a young and ambitious entrepreneur living in Silicon Valley, one with a vision of becoming the next Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon. And while we’re daydreaming, let’s also say you have a rich and successful father who will spend as much of his money as it takes for you to be successful like him. So you have this dream and you know you can’t do it all alone. You know you need some help. So if you’re starting a tech company, you hire a bunch of tech people, right? You get the best programmers and web designers your dad’s money can buy. While you’re at it, you get the best marketing and PR people you can find, and you get appearances and interviews on as many TV shows as possible. Image is everything so you make sure to make enemies of no one as you turn the social media gears. Of course, you also attend all the right events and work the room with all the right people to get an army of influential bloggers to write about you and your company. You do all this so that the venture capitalists invest in you so they can, in turn, cash in when your company goes public.
In Silicon Valley, that’s the formula for a successful startup that has been repeated over and over again as people go from being a no-name founder with a dream to well-known multi-millionaire in the space of about three years. The formula is not a secret: You schmooze to grease the wheels a little bit, make everyone your friend, and hire only the best of the best. Simple, really. Successful startups don’t hire surfers who live at home with their parents and work at a fast food place, then expect them to write world-changing algorithms. They don’t hire a debt collector and have him be their vice president of marketing, or someone who is suspected of being an embezzler and make him CFO. And successful founders certainly don’t go on social media and make enemies of the people who have seats of power that can stop their company before it gets started.
Yet this is exactly what Jesus did. He took fishermen, a few fanatical Jewish Nationalists, and a despised tax collector, and made them all His scribes. He took the least trustworthy of them and let him handle the money. He publicly and openly challenged the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. He mingled with outcasts, sinners, lepers, prostitutes, and Romans. And then, after taking this gaggle of rather unremarkable people and teaching them for three years, He leaves the very thing He founded so that it can be run by the most unqualified men one could possibly imagine. If Jesus was anyone else who was forming a startup in Silicon Valley, it’s pretty certain He would’ve wasted all of His dad’s money.
Nevertheless this group of rather ordinary men — instead of walking away, instead of going back to their lives as they were — went on to do the most extraordinary thing: they built Jesus’ Church, which has endured virtually unchanged for two thousand years. Without them, there would be no Gospels, no Epistles, no New Testament at all. Without this ragtag group there would be no Mass, no Eucharist, no Christian faith. Christ’s death would have been for nothing, and His life, death, and resurrection would be remembered by no one.
We are no different from the Apostles. We are all rather normal people who have been called by Christ to follow Him. When you get right down to it, we’re all just fishermen; we’re all just Peter.
Sometimes we are chosen to witness a miracle; sometimes we fall asleep when we’re most needed. Sometimes our boldness inspires others; sometimes our impulsiveness leads us to speak before we think. Sometimes the strength of our faith allows us to walk on water; sometimes our faith is shaken and we need pulled from the raging sea. Sometimes we run away and deny our faith out of fear; sometimes we are willingly persecuted for defending that which we believe.
Peter had his failings, there is no question. He had fear and doubt, he let his passions rule him, and in Jesus’ darkest hour Peter abandoned Him and denied Him three times. But inasmuch as we all have an imperfect faith, just like Peter, we have all been chosen. And just like Peter, if we are sincere in our regret, we are forgiven of even the worst of our worst offenses. Indeed, we are all Peter. And upon us, His chosen rocks, He will continue to build His church.