Behold the wood of the cross, on which has hung our salvation: come let us adore
What must St. Peter have thought as he heard the cock crowing? Jesus, Peter’s best friend for the past three years, the man whom Peter had come to believe was the Christ, was being led to his death. Peter had spent every day with Jesus, learning, healing, sailing, and probably (knowing Peter) laughing and joking around. They were best friends. But this man, in whom Peter had believed in enough to give up his life as a fisherman, was now to be scourged and killed.
Can you imagine what must have been going on in Peter’s mind when he denied Jesus? Was he thinking about some time when he had played a prank on another disciple and Jesus had laughed? Was he thinking about how Jesus healed his mother-in-law? Was he thinking about Jesus’ teachings of love and how they had changed him so personally?
It is so hard for me to put myself into this context without getting down on myself. I know there are times when I, too, have denied even knowing Jesus. I also know how Jesus has loved me throughout my life. I can look back at everything about my relationship with Jesus and share in St. Peter’s pain when I deny him again and again.
So what conclusions should I draw from the example St. Peter’s denial?
Christ is so so so good to us. Amidst my sinning against him, amidst my denial of love, and amidst my selfishness, he only seeks to prove to me how much he loves me. There is no room for passive aggressiveness in Christ’s love. Christ does not ever reject St. Peter after today’s denial. There are no grudges. He does not cease to love St. Peter even for an instant.
We are so blessed that even while we are denying God, we can pray and ask for his help to stop denying him. What an amazing relationship to have!
God loves us more than we can even comprehend. Today we see Christ’s ultimate proof to us that he loves us. It is not even something that we have to do by ourselves. He wants us to ask him for his help.
Allow your heart to be touched and your world to be shook by this breathless and unbelievable account of the demonstration of God's love for us revealed in the self-giving love of Jesus. For, in earlier words of John, "Greater love than this no one has than to lay down His life for His friends."