First Sunday after Christmas, Year B

Inspired by Luke 22:22-40

“‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.’” Luke 22:31-34 (NRSV)

In our faith lives, we sometimes make bold statements about the depth of our commitment to Christ’s ministry on earth. Yet when it comes time to follow through, we find that we lack the courage to sacrifice all we said we would. The price seems too high, the consequences too severe, and we back away from our commitment, denying Christ just as Peter did.

But just as he knew Peter’s weaknesses, Jesus knows our weaknesses as well. Jesus didn’t condemn Peter for his inevitable denial, but rather assured him of his confidence that Peter would turn back to the way he should go, and instructed him to strengthen his brothers as they struggled under the weight of their own commitments to Christ.

Discipleship is not easy, and you will occasionally fail to do all you’ve committed to do. But you are a disciple of the Lord of mercy and compassion, and his grace allows you to turn back to him, receive his forgiveness, and proclaim the good news of his love.

Let us pray. Lord of mercy and compassion, you accept what we have to offer even though it is far short of what you command. Grant us the humility to recognize our own failures, that we may return to you with confidence in your grace. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.