It’s all too easy to read the account of St. Peter’s denial and think: that would never be us. Peter might have been having an off-day but with us, it’s different. You know it’s different with us, Lord. Don’t you?
This is no hasty declaration made in the first flush of love; we really would die for You. Rile up the lions, let the headsman sharpen his sword. We are for Christ.
But then comes the day when someone cracks a filthy joke in our presence. Not wanting to seem like a prude, we laugh. I do not know Him.
Then we’re watching a movie and someone uses Your precious Name in the place of a foul, four-letter word to express shock or disgust. The Name above all Names, the only name in Heaven or on Earth by which men may be saved, dragged into the dirt and trampled on. We barely blink as we keep watching. I do not know Him.
Someone makes a comment about all religions being basically the same. We know differently, but say nothing. I do not know Him.
A friend challenges us on an aspect of Church teaching which offends them. Not wanting to upset anyone, we say something noncommittal and change the subject. I do not know Him.
In a group setting, we hear someone say that religion is a personal matter. It’s okay to have one, just don’t push it on other people. We nod in agreement with the rest. I tell you, man, I do not know Him!
Jesus, as I think of all the times I have denied you, I too could weep bitterly. Judas sold You for thirty pieces of silver. I have sold You for social acceptance, a quiet life, a cheap laugh.
Yet Peter knows something Judas doesn’t. He knows that You are Compassion and Love, and that this side of Heaven, we can always begin again.
That knowledge alone should be enough to get us to jump into the water and run right across the beach into Your arms: we’re sorry, we love You.
Jesus, we too have denied you. Today, You will go to Calvary. But on Sunday, You will rise again.
And we will run to You.
by Lucy Stothard