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Saint of the Day: Sts Cosmas and Damian
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Text for Stations of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday

Giulio Napolitano | Shutterstock

Anne-Marie Pelletier - published on 04/13/17

Gerard van Honthorst via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain


Jesus is denied by Peter

From the Gospel according to Luke

About an hour later, still another kept insisting: “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean”. But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying”. At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times”. And he went out and wept bitterly (22:59-62).


Around a fire, in the courtyard of the Sanhedrin, Peter and a few others warmed themselves in those cold hours of the night, amid a flurry of people coming and going. Inside, Jesus’ fate is about to be decided as he confronts his accusers. They will ask for his death.

Like a swelling tide, hostility is increasing all about. Just as a wick takes flame, hatred flares up and spreads. Soon the screaming crowd will demand that Pilate pardon Barabbas and condemn Jesus.

It is hard to say you are the friend of someone condemned to death without a chill of fear. Peter’s intrepid fidelity fails before the suspicious question of the servant-girl who kept the gate of that place.

Avowing himself a disciple of the Galilean rabbi would mean putting fidelity to Jesus ahead of his own life! When this kind of courage is demanded, truth has a hard time finding witnesses… That is the way we are; many of us prefer lies to the truth. Peter is a man like us. Three times he betrays the Lord. Then he meets the gaze of Jesus. And his tears pour forth, bittersweet, like the water that cleanses a stain.

Soon, in a few days, around another fire, on the shore of the lake, Peter will acknowledge his risen Lord, who will entrust to him the care of his sheep. Peter will learn how boundless are the words of forgiveness that the Risen Lord pronounces over all our betrayals. And he will embrace a fidelity which, from that moment onwards, will allow him to accept his own death as an offering in union with the death of Christ.


Lord, our God, you chose Peter, the disciple who denied you and accepted your forgiveness, to be charged with guiding your flock.

Fill our hearts with trust and joy in the knowledge that, in you, we can overcome the hurdles of fear and infidelity.

Taught by Peter, may all your disciples bear witness to your way of regarding our faults. May our moments of harshness and despair never render vain the resurrection of your Son!

Pater noster

Christ, put to death for our sins,
Christ, risen for our life,
We beg you: have mercy on us.

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