Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poor Peter

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.

Poor Peter.

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.

God Bless.

4 comments:

the booklady said...

Hi Mike!

St. Peter is my favorite Apostle; he may well be my favorite personality in all of Scripture. I love his humanity--how frequently, even (especially?) well-intentionedly he messes up and yet Our Lord still loves him, forgives him and constantly restores him. It gives me so much hope because St. Peter reminds me so much of me--how often I've plowed in where angels fear to tred and then how BIG I have fallen. And yet somehow I know, Jesus still loves me too. Thanks for this awesome post!

I dropped by to leave you a little award for the fantastic job you do touching my heart, making me think, and inspiring me to keep on no matter what!

God bless you! booklady

You may pick up your award here: http://okie-booklady.blogspot.com/2009/04/lemonade-stand-award.html

Michael said...

booklady,

I am honored to receive this award from you but even more honored that you enjoy my little blog. (you know I am a fan of yours too!)

I have to admit I am fascinated by St. Peter as well. Jesus chose him to lead the Church for a reason. Aside from his strength, I believe there is a strong message that our first Pope was born a “mere” fisherman. Through his humble background we learn our place in God’s kingdom, and through his mistakes we learn about God’s love. It’s just beautiful.

I will follow the rules for the award in my next post!

God Bless you and thank you again!

Charli and me said...

I have always felt so sad when I think of St. Peter. I don't think anyone was more shocked than him when he denied Jesus. He had been so faithful. He must have felt completely worthless when it happened. The good news like you say is that he was forgiven but the pain and agony he must have felt. Great post! Thank you.

Happy Catholic said...

Great post, Michael. Peter, bless his heart - and Our Merciful Lord -give hope to anyone who has not defended the Church when presented with the opportunity.