Right after arresting [Jesus] they led him away and took him into the property of the higher priest Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat about it, and Peter sat down with them. … About an hour later, nevertheless a further insisted, “Assuredly, this man as well was with him, for he also is a Galilean.” But Peter mentioned, “My pal, I do not know what you are speaking about.” Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed, and the Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had mentioned to him, “Before the cock crows nowadays, you will deny me 3 occasions.” He went out and started to weep bitterly.
– Luke 22:54-55,59-62
This threefold denial by Simon Peter was probably the most regretted moment of his life. He denied even recognizing Jesus Christ, his teacher, pal, Lord, and God. How humble Peter was to share this story with the Early Church and how superb that the Holy Spirit inspired its inclusion in the Gospels! He shows us the fallen can get back up, wanderers can return, sinners can be forgiven, and even these who gravely sin can go on to come to be the greatest saints.
Jesus would go on to rehabilitate Peter following the Resurrection, alongside a further charcoal fire by the Sea of Galilee. Mirroring the 3 denials, Jesus asks 3 occasions, “Simon, son of John, do you enjoy me?” Simon Peter replies, “Yes, Lord, you know that I enjoy you,” and Jesus reinstates him as shepherd of his sheep and lambs. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Confession) is likewise a individual encounter with Jesus Christ exactly where we re-profess our enjoy for God and get his restoring forgiveness by way of the ministry of his ordained priest.
Although Simon Peter’s sins have been forgiven they have been not devoid of loss and possibilities squandered. For the duration of the Passion, as they led Jesus away, “they took hold of a specific Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the nation and following laying the cross on him, they created him carry it behind Jesus.” If Simon Peter had not sinned in denying Christ the evening prior to he could have been there, prepared and prepared to get behind his Lord, choose up Jesus’ cross and comply with him. How wonderful that would have been! But this chance fell to a further Simon.
Thanks be to God, St. Peter went on to repent. He did not give up to despair like Judas Iscariot. When Judas saw Jesus condemned and on his way to execution he deeply regretted what he had completed. (A single theory for why Judas had sold Jesus out is he wanted to trigger a confrontation with the leaders of Israel which would force Jesus to wield his mighty powers and take the throne.) Judas attempted to return the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They answered, “What is that to us? Appear to it oneself.” Flinging the dollars into the temple, Judas departed and went off and hanged himself.
What if rather, on Great Friday afternoon, Judas had quickly ran to Calvary Hill? What if he had thrown himself down prior to Christ hanging on the Cross and begged his forgiveness? What would Jesus have mentioned? What would Jesus have completed? I assume we currently know the answer, or could quite closely guess. Jesus would have forgiven Judas.
So come to Jesus in sacramental Confession. Come sooner rather than later and much more than just after or twice a year. And, after wonderfully absolved, resolve and strive to sin no much more. Although sins can be forgiven, we see that each and every sin or delayed conversion entails some loss, an chance missed.