hat comforts in our lives could lead us to deny Christ under the right circumstances? All of the Apostles fled from Jesus upon his arrest and crucifixion, except for Judas, who betrayed Him and St. John, who stayed with Him and Our Blessed Mother. These Apostles, who just hours prior sat with Him at the Last Supper where He instituted the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders, abandoned Him.
His closest friends and followers. Those men were chosen to be the first bishops of His Church. The men chosen to follow Him on the Way of the Cross. The same men who repeatedly could not understand the fact that Jesus had to be crucified, die, and rise from the dead in order to bring about the work of redemption.
We can easily make the mistake of believing that we would never do any of these things; that we would never abandon Him, betray Him, or flee. Every time we sin, we do exactly that, and in a world marred by darkness, sin, temptation, power, and the lures of comfort, the danger for each one of us is that we will abandon Christ when our hour comes and we too must undergo the test.
St. Peter boldly proclaimed—through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that there is nowhere else to go except to follow Him. Later, when the time of testing came, St. Peter denied Jesus. Here’s what John’s Gospel says:
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.John 18:15-18
This is the first time St. Peter denies Jesus. Notice how he enters the courtyard through the help of another disciple. He isn’t completely alone. He is with a fellow follower of Christ. Rather than seek to stay close to Jesus, St. Peter stays at a safe distance, denies Jesus, and stays at a charcoal fire where others are warming themselves. St. Peter’s distance from Jesus is felt in the description of how cold it was that night. St. Peter chooses to warm himself by the fire in the things of this world, rather than embrace the cold, isolation, and persecution Jesus is experiencing at the hands of the high priest and his men.
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