Matthew 26: 69-75
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus the Galilean.’ 70But he denied it before all of them, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ 71When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’* 72Again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’ 73After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.’ 74Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know the man!’ At that moment the cock crowed. 75Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: ‘Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.
Some Background to the Scripture
This story is framed by the word ‘outside’ (verses 69 and 75); an experience which leads Peter to weep bitterly as he realises the extent of his betrayal of Jesus. Peter’s denial of Jesus becomes more serious as he responds to the servant and then to the second servant and others present and finally an explicitly public denial with an oath to the crowd gathered. Peter has indeed placed himself outside the expectations of friendship and discipleship.
The question “who is our neighbour?” is thus understood within that broader vision of life which the Gospel addresses to all, but especially those who are deprived of it. The “neighbours” in this context are the refugees, the asylum seekers, the sex abuse victims, the gay and lesbian people and anyone else who suffer prejudice, discrimination and dehumanising stereotype…We cannot talk about the integrity of creation, the universal and inclusive love of God, while at the same time colluding in the ill-treatment of racial minorities, women and homosexual persons.
[ Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. Who Is My Neighbour? CASPA Conference 15 July 2014 ]
Who are the people in society I find it hard to accept? What is it about them I reject?
Jesus, you were denied by Peter. Help me to see my own limitations in the way I treat or ignore those around me.
The Jesuit Refugee Service Australia site gives a voice to those who, like Jesus, who are often rejected. Spend some time to read their stories, consider how you could support the work of caring for these vulnerable members of our community.