“’ A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!’” (Lk. 22:14-23:56)
Life as a Child of God is tough. As a true follower, you will be judged by the world. Although that is expected, it is still uneasy, but what do you do when your own family and friends sell you out and leave you alone? This has always been a challenge in my own ministry life.
When you stand up for what is right, sometimes you may be standing alone. In this passage, we see Jesus being denied by his most beloved disciple, Peter. The times were tough, the stakes were high, and I am sure Peter was in self-survival mode.
In my own personal journey, there have been many families, friends, and colleagues who I thought would be supportive, instead, became some of my biggest obstacles whether due to fear, jealousy, or just various other factors. Some of the young people that I have “raised” in ministry have now become the adults that are chasing after titles, positions, and power rather than sacrificing to give back to those coming after them. When issues like these arise, I tend to recall this passage. Although my feelings of hurt and betrayal are there, I try to recall that Jesus probably felt these same things. I also remember that Jesus knew that this denial, along with other betrayals were going to occur, yet he still ministered and loved those who he was called to serve. Aren’t we called to do the same?
How many of us have done the same, or may have had someone do that to us? How do we feel afterward? I’m sure many of us have said we are “ride or dies” for our family and friend until a real test of our relationships occurs? Just like Peter, who also said he would never sell out Jesus before this passage took place, we are human. Just like Peter, who also was influenced by those around him, we falter. BUT also, just like Peter, when we fail, Jesus is there to pick us back up.
So, as we reflect on this Palm Sunday Gospel, let us take a moment to see how we personally can heal from the “denials” we’ve faced, or “denials” we’ve committed, in our lives. Let us take an honest inventory of this so that we can truly give God the opportunity to create in us a clean heart so that we can continue to serve those who may have sold us out. Family, as I conclude this reflection, let us remember, that it is not about us, but about what God does through us. Now help others in your world transform from being sell-outs to being SOULED OUT as we enter into this Holy Week.
Dr. Ansel Augustine is the Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. His latest book, "Leveling the Praying Field - Can the Church We Love, Love us Back?" Buy it on Amazon