|“The Denial of St. Peter,” by Caravaggio, 1610|
During the last supper, as they all sat around the table for their meal together, Peter expresses his love for Jesus. “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,””Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”
Jesus looks at Peter with tremendous love and tells him “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
Later that night, Jesus was arrested. They seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
* I like the above story as it depicts the strength of our vulnerabilities. Our incompleteness completes us. Although Peter constantly doubted Jesus, yet he was embraced in love, compassion and forgiveness. He went on to be recognised later as a saint. Peter which means a ‘Rock’, for me symbolises the metaphor of being a rock for somebody else, despite not being perfect, yet we can always try to love unconditionally.
* The photograph of Jesus below is of a painting, made by a mother for her little girl who used to be afraid of dark. ‘Give me your pain’, as if he is asking lovingly.