The Apostle Peter

James Tissot, 1836-1902 The Calling of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew

Here he chose his first collaborators, or Apostles, with Simon Peter at their head (Luke 5:10ff.). From this man, who was to become his vicar, he took everything: person, profession, house, bringing all to perfection (Luke 4:38, 5:3ff.).

L. Cignelli, La grazia dei luoghi santi, Jerusalem 2005, 45.

James Tissot, 1836-1902 The Miraculous Draught of Fishes

The technical vocabulary used by fishermen is scattered throughout the texts, indicating that the reader should take seriously the image of fishing as a metaphor for Jesus’ work and as an image of the Church of that time (Augustan). Since Christ was present on the boat, this was to become a symbol of the Church (Massimo di Torino). The miracle relates to the fishing of men, through the ministry of grace that is the foundation of the Church and that continues to make it grow even until today. Jesus led the people to the Church through his preaching of the Gospel (Cyril of Alexandria). This Church was called to navigation just as Noah had been (Massimo di Torino). Just as the prophets had labored throughout the night, so would the Apostles. One boat represented the Jews and the other, overloaded, the Gentiles (Ephrem the Syrian). Peter, like the demons, recognized that Jesus was the Holy One of God, and his fear arose from the fact that he was in the presence of the holiness of the sinner (Cyril of Alexander). To fish men means to preach to them the kingdom of God in Jesus, and to bring them into this kingdom through the sacrament of the Church (Massimo di Torino).

La Bibbia commentata dai Padri-Nuovo testamento a cura di A. A. Just Jr, Citta Nuova, Roma 2006.

James Tissot , 1836-1902 The healing of Peter's mother-in-law

The Apostle Peter, Primate of the Apostles, the one who received his call on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, responded immediately and with generosity. The setting in which his calling took place was that of his daily life, which was thus already a sign of the mission that Simon would carry out in his life. Jesus said to him: “I will make you a fisher of men”, making reference to his future mission as head of the Church. Peter’s role will always be that of a leader, an important role within the group of the Apostles, he will always be the spokesmen and the point of reference. His relationship with Jesus changed him profoundly and it is noteworthy that this relationship became like that of a family, and his house became the center and place in which Jesus lived. This aspect shows the relationship of intimacy and familiarity that developed between teacher and disciple. Jesus entered into Peter’s house and lived there as if it were his own.
Peter was later to show himself to be weak and fragile, which only serves to make clear that Peter was the first by grace, not by merit!
It was in this context that Jesus gave a new name to the Apostle, who was no longer to be called Simon but Peter (Cephas/Rock), thus reaffirming his vocation: he is to be the rock foundation of the new community that Christ is establishing, calling on the disciples to follow him and live with him.


The True Church