I encounter people on a regular basis who seem to function well in a state of denial. They off-load their past if it doesn't suit their self-image, and they inflate their importance, finding little time for reality. Many folks don't want to be associated with less than classy places or people, so they make things up to hide their humble and awkward pasts. The truth always finds a way to shine through though, and under stress or the spot light the truth will always emerge.
Peter is terrified and trying to find out was is going on. Jesus has been arrested and he fears for himself. When questioned, he denies his relationship to Jesus, and repeated feigns ignorance and acts horrified at the accusations. He denies the one he had promised to be faithful to always. He turned his best friend and mentor into a stranger for self-preservation. The good news of our gospel today is that God doesn't leave Peter in his anguish and failure. He becomes, through God's healing and forgiveness, a leader for us all. He moves from a frightened onlooker to one at the heartbeat of God's presence here on earth. We are invited to be honest about our failings and our needs so that God can brings us ever closer to the heart of God.
Today I ask God to help me never be ashamed of who I am or where I have come from. May we all embrace our failures and our past, knowing that God has more for us than we can imagine. May our bitter tears and our anguish be turned to joy and strength by the forgiveness and love of God this day.