"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go?'" Jn 6:68Many years ago while visiting the friars in Central America, I learned of a struggle many friars had with women to whom they were ministering in small mountain villages. Abused often by their heavy drinking husbands, the women would not leave their villages. Initially, the friars thought the women were staying because of the vows they took when they married. Only after many visits did they realize they were staying with their abusive husbands because they had no place to go. Penniless, they felt trapped. With three or four children, it seemed impossible to them to go anywhere. Instead, they endured the abuse for the sake of their children, and the friars stood by them as best they could.
For those who work in the developing world, situations like this arise regularly, and sometimes I wonder whether Peter was saying something similar to the women of Central America when he asked Jesus, "To whom shall we go?" Indeed, Peter was a fisherman with few options. He was probably illiterate and owned no property. To what could he return? While the gospel writers cast Peter's response as an act of faith, which it surely was, it might also reflect his powerlessness, a helplessness that becomes his greatest strength. Unable to go anywhere without Jesus, he teaches us how we must live in the 21st century.
Today ask yourself what you do when you feel powerlessness in the face of overwhelming problems?
How can we stand with the poor and the powerless in their everyday lives?