On this day on which the Church celebrates two of her foundation stones, and 44 successors of these stones receive the signs of the fullness of their episcopacy, it is good to ask ourselves the question that, tradition tells us, Saint Peter asked the Lord, when he encountered Him on the road leading out of Rome. As Peter was fleeing the persecutions he suffered in the city, the Lord came towards him, heading back to where Peter came from. “Lord, where are You going?”, seemingly less surprised at meeting Jesus than at seeing Him head in a direction where He would be less than welcome.
Peter’s question is also our question. Peter was afraid, and we are also often afraid of the consequences that an active Christian life brings. After all, it is rarely in line with society’s thinking, and may provoke misunderstanding, even hostility. But we should remember that our Christian life is not a road that we have to find alone. We are following someone. Jesus Christ has gone this road before. Therefore, we should not hesitate to ask HIm, if things get tough or painful, “Lord, where are you going?” And wherever He goes, we will go with Him, knowing that we are not alone, whatever befalls us, good or bad. Jesus goes the road ahead of us, even if we hesitate, take a wrong turn or double back.
Saint Peter has shown us this. Upon meeting Jesus on the road, He understood that He was a follower of Christ, and found the courage to go where He went before Him.
“I am going to Rome, to be crucified again.”
Art credit: Domine, quo vadis? by Annibale Carracci (1602)