St. Peter Shows Us the Beauty of Repentance
In Jerusalem there is a church in honor of St. Peter called “St. Peter in Gallicantu.” It sits on the location of the house of the high priests where Jesus was tried and St. Peter famously denied Our Lord. Why a church to commemorate this tragic event in the life of St. Peter? This church is all about repentance. In the crypt level are three icons, one depicting Peter stating “I do not know him,” one of Peter crying saying simply “He wept bitterly,” and a final one after the resurrection with Peter telling Jesus, “You know that I love you.”
Because Peter has this powerful conversion from his sin he is able to then go out boldly as we see in the first reading. The leaders of the Sanhedrin demand that Peter and the other apostles stop talking about Jesus. Peter refuses and with great courage preaches the good news of Jesus raised from the dead. He knew he was forgiven and he knew that he had a mission to bear witness to the one that he loved.
How tragic it would have been if Peter had remained in shame over his sin and gave into the demands to be silent. Perhaps we too at time feel ashamed by our sins. We feel too much like hypocrites to go out and tell anyone about living a life of holiness. These feelings are not from God. Jesus forgives our sins and tells us to forget the past and go out boldly. Nothing will separate us from the love of God, not even our sins if we repent as Peter did. We thank God for the gift of our Holy Father today who continues to speak boldly about Jesus. May we be attentive to his teaching, thankful for his ministry, and follow his example.