Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
Peter said to the people: “[God] has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence…Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did…Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
Who could be better than Saint Peter to appeal to the hearts of sinners on behalf of Christ Jesus? Peter, who himself had denied Jesus three times on the very night of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, appealed to the people of Jerusalem to accept Jesus as Messiah and savior for the forgiveness of their sins. Peter knew, as Jesus looked at him after the rooster crowed that night, that Jesus had already forgiven him in that very moment. After the Resurrection, Peter took part in the Eucharist and heard Jesus repeat the words of Institution: “This is the Chalice of My Blood, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” At the Sea of Galilee, Peter reaffirmed his faith in Jesus and was recommissioned to feed the sheep of Jesus’ flock. Peter embodied the commission of the resurrected Christ to preach “repentance, for the forgiveness of sins…in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
If Peter, who had sinned so boldly in publicly denying Jesus with an oath, could become the leader of the newborn Church, then we, too, can become great saints and witnesses to Jesus Christ. The forgiveness of our sins has already been purchased by the price of Jesus’ Precious Blood shed on the Cross; all we need do is receive this forgiveness and resolve to sin no more. Weak as we may have been in the past, we can draw strength from Jesus to bear witness to Him, even to giving our lives as Martyrs, like Peter. The Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ can wipe away any and every sin. Every sinner, including you or I, can become a great saint. Whether we acted out of ignorance, fear, pride, or any other flawed motivation, we can be made new in Him Who loves us. Saint Peter bore witness to this; we can, too.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn