Meatfare Sunday is upon us, and we all have good intentions. We will follow Christ this time and give our all. We will attend the services prescribed, and take all the other necessary steps. But, where will our heart be?
Today's reading of the day, (Mark:14:43), takes us to the garden, not of Paradise, but Gethsemane. Then suddenly as if in a mob scene, Jesus is kissed on the cheek, not for the sake of love, but for deceit. Several follow Jesus, John and Peter, as he is taken away.
Relationships, formed from the beginning by Jesus in a scene of violence, marked the tone of what's to come, somber and sad. A ban of friends scattered, lost and afraid.
This story would not end in the way the disciples perceived it would that day. But, in the fulfillment of the scriptures, and in a glorious Resurrection.
Peter is the married and boisterous apostle, who tells Jesus three times that he loves Him. He's the one who trusted Jesus enough, like a child who walks to his parent, to leave his comfort zone and walk on the sea with the boat being tossed about, by the command of Jesus to "come." The contrary winds made him fear, calling out "Lord, save me!" (Matt:14:30). Peter is first to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of the Living God, saying: (Mark 8:29)"You are the Christ." Peter was to be the Leader of the Disciples, as seen in (Acts 1:15-26).
Peter, the follower, was privileged to witness, Jesus Transfigured on Mt. Tabor. There could have no been doubt at that point. Peter had good intentions, just like many of us and followed Jesus. (Matt26:69) tells us that Peter sat outside in the courtyard. It was bad enough that a simple servant girl, caused him to deny Jesus for the first time, another girl in the gateway the second, but he again for the third time is questioned by those standing, who approached Peter, saying his speech "betrayed" him. Peter, "betrayed Christ" for the third time.
It hurts to be "betrayed" especially by a close friend, Peter having sinned against the Master, wept bitterly. And as promised, the rooster crowed. Peter, becames like the prodigal, on the outside, in the mud, alone, afraid, and hungry for one he hurt and loves. It is the place to begin on our journey to the road of repentance. A longing to make things right. Desiring forgiveness, reconciliation and renewal of our "failed relationships" and our "brokenness."
Peter will face the Risen Christ at another time, healing the broken relationship. He is given another chance. We are too proud to say, forgive me, I'm sorry I hurt you. We go on hurting one another. Is this what Christ wants? I think not. We have an opportunity to begin anew, let's walk down that road of repentance together.
(Psalm 51:10)"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
(All scriptural references are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible)
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