Don't Lose the Connection

The moment in which we lose connection with Jesus and with the Church, we are no longer ourselves and we do not have any understanding of who we will be. For Peter at that moment, the cock crows and his crowing becomes an echo of Jesus’s words during the Last Supper. Peter, now smitten and dejected, is brought back to self-awareness. The Lord, turning his head, looks at Peter. Once more it is the gaze of Jesus that conquers a person, that moves him to compassion. We can understand that this gaze is not the unpleasant gaze of “I told you so!” It is not a gaze of judgment but a gentle, tender gaze that seeks to win him back. It is a gaze that calls Peter back. What does Peter do? He recalls the words the Lord had spoken, and he goes out weeping bitterly. These tears of suffering, of repentance for his denial, are a blessing for Peter because they are the prerequisite to receiving forgiveness. These tears are his request to Jesus to forgive him and to accept him again as a friend. The falling tears from this “Sandman, Sandman” mix with the dirt, and, on the morning of Pentecost, that dirt mixed with the tears of suffering and repentance will be hardened into stone, as in a kiln, by the fire of the Holy Spirit. Then Simon will definitively become Peter, a solid rock on which finally the whole Church can remain firm; he knows he will never again deny his Lord. He might be weak, a sinner in his flesh, but he will not ever again betray Jesus; his faith will be sure, solid, and secure. Our self-understanding needs to start with our relationship with Jesus: I am a disciple of the Lord, of the Lord who decided to die and make himself a gift of love for me, of a Lord who is risen and alive.

—from the book Encountering Jesus: A Holy Land Experience by Vincenzo Peroni



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