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  • Elpidio Pezzella

The Crowing of the Cock

But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

(Luke 22:60 NKJV)

We are in the middle of summer, and despite the climatic effects are leaving painful signs in some areas as a result of our poor environmental management, there is for many a great desire to escape, as evidenced by the numbers of the period. But we are not here to talk about holidays or do socio-economic analyses. Our intent is to offer a meditation that can reach the soul and keep everyone's faith alive. Returning to possible holidays, those who have had the opportunity to spend a few days in rural areas will have had not only the pleasure of listening to the singing of crickets and cicadas, but also of some rooster at the first light of dawn. And it is to a rooster that we want to devote our attention.


In the central part of Luke's history, when the words addressed by Jesus to Peter find fulfillment: "And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the roostercrows, you will deny Me three times”. So Peter went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:61-62). All the Gospels narrate this episode, certainly not happy for Simon, to remind us that falls and failures are around the corner for everyone. This could amplify the suffering of someone's moment, who like Peter was certain that nothing and no one could ever make you desist, lie and / or abjure. The point of crisis is to fall, and to fall badly. Simon's failure is perhaps the worst "For whoeveris ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38). Denying the evidence is bad. And the expression "I don't know what you are saying" to those who indicated it does not pull them out of the quagmire. On the contrary, his condition worsens.


Without the Gospels, reading only the book of Acts, we would have a different, partial perception of Peter, who takes on the role of the preacher, the persecuted, the healer or the liberated; certainly a reference figure for the nascent Christian community. But the Gospels let us know a "before", because behind every present there is a past. Our fisherman must have drawn important lessons from the mistakes of the past, from all the uncertainties, insecurities, impulses, falls and failures, despite the fact that he was at the Master's side. In fact, the night of the betrayal, the determination and confidence that had so far distinguished him was not enough to avoid one of the darkest moments in his life. For three years at Jesus' side, his life had received a special imprint from that day when, while he was tidying up the fishermen's nets, he heard himself say: "Follow me. I will make you a fisher of living men”. Luke the Evangelist recounts that on the night of Jesus' arrest, a few hours after his vehement declaration of being willing to give his life, Simon will not find the strength necessary to declare himself one of the Galilean's followers. In fact, three times he denies knowing him. He had followed Jesus, keeping his distance. He wanted to do something, but he wasn't capable. Jesus was among the accusers, like a dumb sheep before the shearers. Peter will discover that he is just as alone, when at the third denial he hears the cock crow, as announced by the Galilean. Just in that instant Jesus leaves the house of the high priest and meets the eyes of his beloved disciple, who bursts into bitter tears.


Peter's strength lies in immediately becoming aware of what has been accomplished and his bitter tears testify to it. If someone doesn't know what he is saying, you know what you are doing. The denial does not allow the enemy time to accuse him, but when he meets Jesus' gaze, he perceives the understanding, solidarity and above all the mercy of those who had tried to lovingly warn him. Perhaps we should find this strength, often confused with weakness. Whoever takes note of the mistakes and gets up comes out stronger. But immediately the disciple struggles, to the point that after the resurrection and the first apparitions, he decides to go back to fishing. The one who was expected to become a "fisher of men" is still Simon and the blood of a fisherman runs in his veins. So his decision is: “I'm going to fish”. The result, however, was a total failure. A whole night without bringing even a little fish on board. At the moment when despair could take possession of a voice from the shore... The Lord was right there, as He is right here! As we toil in vain, his loving gaze does not leave us. He is ready to give us the right advice, he is ready to rehabilitate us, he is ready to entrust us with his flock.


 

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan #35

August 22, Psalms 110-112; 1 Corinthians 5

August 23, Psalms 113-115; 1 Corinthians 6

August 24, Psalms 116-118; 1 Corinthians 7:1-19

August 25, Psalms 119:1-88; 1 Corinthians 7:20-40

August 26, Psalms 119:89-176; 1 Corinthians 8

August 27, Psalms 120-122; 1 Corinthians 9

August 28, Psalms 123-125; 1 Corinthians 10:1-18

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