– I will never leave you! I will never give up on you! You can rely on me. I will always be there! Have you ever heard that? Maybe you’ve said it? We can think we are strong but it’s not an easy job. So, it’s a disappointment. We feel bad. Well, when it comes to small things, it’s not very serious but we can find ourselves into difficult situations. This is the case with Peter in this story which you will find at the end of the Gospels: Listen carefully and then you will be able to answer these questions: – Why did Peter deny Jesus? – What did he learn?
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It was night. A whole troop of soldiers, guards and persons armed with sticks and swords, have just arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The religious leaders sent them here. They have tied his hands and brutally took him away. Jesus was all alone. Where are his friends, Matthew, Andrew, Philippe, and the other disciples? They had all promised never to give him up, just a few hours agore are some hours: “I’m ready to die for you!” had declared Peter! They disappeared into the garden. They were so scared that they fled. But Peter pulled himself together and said to one of them: – Come on! Let us follow from afar, we will see where they are taking the Lord and what will happen. They arrived in front of the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest. This disciple knew Caiaphas; he came inside but Peter stayed outside. – Can my friend come in? He asked to the maid standing by the door. – Let him come in! Said the woman. Peter entered into the yard. It was so cold so they lit up a fire. The servants have gathered there to warm up. Peter sat down with them. These men were telling who Jesus got arrested. They were making fun of him. They were rude. Peter did not say a word, he was uncomfortable. He heard the loud voices and the screams. – But why are they yelling like that at Jesus? He didn’t do anything wrong! They are insulting him! In the light of the flames, a servant was carefully looking at Peter. – But you are one of his disciples too! She said. – Not at all! Answered Peter. I don’t know what you mean. I don’t not know him! He was very scared. He felt in danger. He walked towards the exit door. The maid saw him. She looked at everyone around her and said: – Him also is with this Jesus of Nazareth! – What are you saying, said Peter, it is not true! I told you I do not know this man! I have never seen him! The soldiers continued to insulting and abusing Jesus. They were making fun of him. They blindfolded and hit him. They told were saying to Jesus: – Come on, tell us who hit you! Come on, guess! Peter was upset. He knew the brutality of these men and the wickedness of the religious leaders. It is so sad to see Jesus captured into their hands this way. Time seemed very long, but He stood there. An hour later, men arrived. They surrounded him. They told – There is no doubt, you are one of his people! You are with Him! When you speak, we recognize your accent, you are from the same region as Him, you are from Galilee! Pierre was scared. A High priest’s servant insisted. – Yes! Of course you are with Him. Don’t say you are not, I can recognize you. I saw you in the garden tonight. You cut off my cousin’s ear. – I’m telling you I’m not! Shouted Peter angrily. I don’t know this man. I swear I never saw him! At that moment, a shout rang out in the morning light. The song of a rooster! For Peter, everything was upside down. Jesus’ words echoed in his head: “Peter, before the rooster crows today you will have denied me three times.” He is devastated. Jesus looked towards Peter. There was no reproach in this look but sadness and compassion. Peter was upset, Jesus’ look broke his heart. He could no longer stay there. He fled out of the courtyard and plunged into the quiet streets of the city. He cried. He bitterly cried. He was ashamed of himself. He could not help thinking about what had just happened. The young man, so self-confident who felt so strong. He had just denied his Lord whom he loved so much. He was deeply disappointed with himself: “I am unworthy of the Lord. He repeated to himself. “I never thought I would have come to this! Will Jesus ever want to forgive me for denying him? ” Peter had none response for that. He had lived hours and days with deep regrets but his comfort was the kind look from Jesus.
1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! I suggest we think about our questions together: “Why did Peter deny Jesus?” I think he was very scared, terribly scared of those men’s brutality. What about you? Aren’t you afraid of the reactions of the others sometimes? When you tell them that Jesus is your Friend? Benji is also asking us: “What did Peter learn?” He found out what was deep down in his heart, his pride but also his weakness. Jesus warned him but he didn’t believe him because he felt so strong. What a pity, he didn’t listen, he didn’t pray! He would have had much more strength to resist or he just wouldn’t have put himself in a so difficult situation. Now I’m going to tell you what I think great about this story even if it’s very sad. It was Jesus’ look full of love for his disciple. What do you think of that? It cheers me up a lot to know that Jesus continues to love us even when we are not always on top.
4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! This story is challenging us. What do we think we are capable of for the Lord? How far do we think we could go? It’s easy to say, to think, even dreaming, that we will go anywhere out of love for the Lord, but the reality can overtake us. Let us remain humble and confident to remain faithful to Him in our daily life. We can keep these words of the Lord in our hearts: “I prayed for you that your faith would not fail”.