Jesus renames Simon as Peter, with the implication that what will happen with and through Peter is a bigger rock than Mount Hermon (the tallest mountain in Israel), but what does that actually mean?
From Shakespeare to Shrek, literature and movies (and even real life) are full of moments where someone bombards a friend or loved one with an over the top tribute. So is that what this is, Jesus gushing about his BFF Simon? Given Jesus’ propensity for calling things like they are (“Oh you of little faith…”), probably not.
Sometimes nicknames are ironic, like the fat guy who goes by “Slim” or the really big guy called “Tiny.” So is that what this is, Jesus mocking Simon’s reactive personality by calling him a rock? Given Jesus’ habit of helping people with the problems their personalities cause (like rescuing Simon after his walking on water fail), probably not.
With what we know about the love of God (see Thursday’s post), whatever this new name means, we know that it is given by someone who can be trusted, even if we don't understand why he does what he does. Which means that, with all that is being entrusted to Simon (and how his life will radically change because of it), it will be through God’s grace and love that Simon becomes Peter.
Readings for Sunday: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082414.cfm