Peter remembered the word of the Lord,
how he had said to him,
“Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly. – Luke 21: 61-62
There are so many different ways that we may enter into the fullness of the Easter Triduum. Whether we choose to ready our hearts and minds through contemplation of scripture, meditating on certain aspects of Christ’s experience:
- (Breaking bread with His disciples or washing their feet;
- His time in the garden of Gethsemane;
- carrying the cross to Calvary,
- or feeling utterly abandoned and alone in His crucifixion);
or reveling in the joy and solemnity of this season through ritual meal preparations and family celebrations; or even finding some aspect of Christ’s passion alive and inside of a social justice or community service experience. Some of us may get quiet, others more vocal and boisterous as we allow the mystery of these High Holy days to pierce our hearts and inform our faith in action.
As I move through this Holy week this year, and prepare for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday liturgies, I find myself held captive by one aspect of Christ’s passion: His friend Peter’s denial of their relationship. And I’m inspired to pray. I feel sort of stuck in a sense, or inspired, as I meditate on what it was for this disciple to deny knowing Christ, to publicly disavow the Divine’s presence and identity in his midst. I can’t help but wonder about how this founding father of the Catholic church is alive and weeping still over his denial of the innocent and beloved Christ. I think about the root cause of Peter’s actions — possibly being his own fear of death and public persecution?– and find myself swimming in sea of compassion, and simultaneously: equally impassioned by present day circumstances in our church. I think of the ways that denial of the Divine and rejection of the innocent is playing out in Peter’s descendants. I think of this past week’s headlines around abused children and the church’s lack of public acknowledgment. I ache. I am angered. I am alive in my prayer.
I think of how I participate in any kind of rejection of Christ and His call, and I ask for insights – to be further stretched and humbled, softened and open to God’s love, mercy, passion and forgiveness. I lean into the mystery of His resurrection and abundant love.
- For Peter – and for all disciples of Christ – who have denied His love and presence, and contributed to the suffering of the innocent, that all may know the power of Christ’s Love;
- For all church leaders, as they wrestle with their callings and manners of being Life-giving and affirming servants of God, that humility and compassion from their lived experiences inform their ministries.
- For the continued transformation of all hearts and minds as we grow in conscious awareness of our oneness through Christ’s love, death, and resurrection.
- For all innocent beings whose lives and experiences of suffering are denied or dismissed, that they may know an identity aligned with a greater Love.
May the Paschal Mystery inform and inspire all the cells of our beings, and give way to the hope of our humble continuation serving and following this amazing Christ. May we claim the truth of our unification as an Easter people!
In peace, love, compassion, prayer,