We are all familiar with the drama of Peter’s denial that he ever knew Jesus in the courtyard by the fire (We can find it in all four gospels: Matthew 26,69ff; Mark 14,66ff; Luke 22,56ff and John 18,15ff). It is a tragic but strangely comforting story.
It makes St Peter appear to be very human, full of human frailty, capable of betraying him whom he holds most dear. It is comforting because we know about ourselves that when push comes to shove we also would be capable of such a betrayal. But is it not also comforting because we assume that we will probably never be put into that position? Our faithfulness is unlikely to be challenged in such dramatic and heroic circumstances. But are we not also involved in a denial of our Lord in our daily lives here and now?
Perhaps we are when we don’t turn to God when we have to make difficult decisions, or when God is not relevant and real to us in many important moments of our lives. We are involved in a creeping denial, an almost imperceptive betrayal. St Peter ‘wept bitterly’ when he discovered his betrayal and when he saw Jesus looking back at him. Our discovery of our own incremental betrayal does not normally drive us to weep.
But perhaps it is crying that we need to relearn during these next two weeks, so that Easter will come to us with a new sense of celebrating the feast with the ‘unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’.
18 March 2018