We Are Not Without Hope
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
‘While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids came along. Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.”’
Peter’s denial of Jesus is one of the hardest parts of the Passion for me to hear. Peter, who has just sworn to stand with Jesus even in the face of death, now cowers before a maid’s simple question. She is identifying Peter as a Christian, and he lies and runs away from this identity. His weakness and fear are so very real, so human, so much like us. Peter represents us well in his pride, his frailty, and his denial of Jesus.
As difficult as it can be for us to chant with the crowd: “Crucify him, crucify him!,” it is so very easy for us to deny Jesus in our everyday words and actions. Every sin of ours is a denial of Jesus in great or small ways. We want to see Peter stand strong in the face of persecution, yet we fold just as easily before social pressures.
Yet, we are not without hope. Simon Peter became Saint Peter soon enough. We, too, can become saints with God’s help. Our denials of Jesus can give way to courageous faith sustained by God’s grace. We are bolstered by the example of the Saints who, like Peter, overcame their weaknesses. We are also encouraged by their prayers and emboldened by the witness so many of them did give with their lives. The site of Saint Peter’s martyrdom is now the most visited church on the planet. You can go to Rome and kneel before his bones and see the witness he gave to Jesus—the witness that converted the city whose name we now bear as Roman Catholics.
Our walks through the Passion of Jesus Christ this Sunday and on Good Friday give us the opportunity to recommit ourselves to Christ, to reaffirm our gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, and to renew our love for Him Who died and rose again. May our Holy Week be fruitful and joyful, and may we learn to repent as well as Saint Peter did.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn