I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter!
Most of my posts during Lent focused on our Lord, and rightly so. And, given that it is the Pauline year, I have also spent some time focusing on St. Paul.
But it was Peter that really moved me this Easter Triduum. For some reason I couldn't get his denial of Jesus out of my head.
Here is a favored disciple of Jesus - one who has been told he is the rock on which Jesus will build His church. Peter continually professes his support and love for Jesus throughout the Gospels.
But imagine what it was like for him when, after proclaiming his undying loyalty to Jesus, was told him he would deny Christ three times. He must have been shocked, right? I mean, Peter just got done telling Jesus that he would follow him to death. And Jesus replies by telling him he will pretend he never even knew Him.
Peter must have spent much of that Last Supper pondering how that could be possible.
Of course, it gets worse.
What about that moment when that prophesy came true? That exact second Peter realized what he had done. I'm sure he didn't realize what he was doing at the time - having probably been afraid for his life. But when that cock crowed, and reality hit, it must have been an awful feeling.
But I imagine that still wasn't the worst of it.
Imagine what Peter must have felt once Jesus breathed his last. Oh the guilt and sorrow that must have weighed on his heart knowing that the last thing he did while Jesus was alive was deny Him! Imagine what those two days were like, not knowing for sure if he would ever see Christ again to apologize.
This really gave me pause this Easter, partly because I had never really focused on the Passion from Peter's point of view and partly because I know that every time I sin I am doing the same thing Peter did. (And it's happened more than three times, trust me!)
The good news, is that Peter's denial leads to one of the most beautiful events in the New Testament. In John 21:15, the Resurrected Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Peter seems annoyed at the questioning at the time, but the love that Jesus shows there is amazing. Our Lord asks Peter to tell Him he loves Him three times ... one time for each denial. What a conscience cleaner that must have been!
Jesus, thank you for forgiving us even when we turn our back to you.
St. Peter, thank you for your courage and perseverance. Please pray for us.