Each year as Holy Week approaches, I listen numerous times to the Rock Opera Jesus Christ Superstar. In recent years my wife has treated me to the play once at the Aronolf Center in Cincinnati and the following year at the Stain Glass Theater in Newport. Both of these plays were wonderful but the one in Newport was my favorite because of the amazing local talent.
One of the most striking parts of the opera is Peter’s third denial of Christ. Peter is frustrated that he is continuously asked if he was with Christ and he screams out in a loud dramatic voice… ”I don’t know Him!” That scene always drives home to me how determined Peter is to deny Christ. If you have ever seen the play or listened to the Opera you know exactly what I mean.
One of my favorite bible verses is in John 21. This is after the resurrection: When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep” He said to him a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord you know everything: you know that I love you” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
We know that this is Christ reaffirming Peter’s role in His church, but also, Jesus asked Peter three times to counteract his three denials, Peter’s confession if you will.
Each morning at mass in the Confiteor we pray for forgiveness… ”for what I have done and what I have failed to do.” Each “thing” I have done or failed to do is a denial of Christ.
Because of my weaknesses I wonder how many times and how long it would take Christ to ask me, “Daniel son of Benjamin do you love me?”
Dan Heck, Sr., Lay Director
Diocese of Covington Cursillo Movement