“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:3-4 RSVCE
That is one of the most mysterious prophecies about the Messiah. The words predict psychological pain, social detestation, something impossible to put together with the glorious redeemer of Israel. The sages went over all the Scriptures available to them and made a collection of the prophecies related to the “suffering Messiah” only to conclude that he was a different person from the triumphant apocalyptic warrior-king described in other messianic texts. When Jesus walked with Peter and the other disciples, that was the prevailing interpretation. One was typified as the persecuted Joseph until the time of his imprisonment and the other, the glorious one, was typified by Joseph the ruler of Egypt who generously saved Israel.
Peter and the other disciples expected Jesus to “reveal himself to Israel” casting off his meek but powerful appearance to take on the role of a military leader who was going to conquer the world and make every son of Abraham a ruler in a new world. Well, that was the plan but it was not going to happen in the manner the disciples imagined.
When Jesus revealed that the crucial moment was coming for Him to be “lifted up,” he added something new: the disciples were going to be scattered. Sure of his loyalty, Peter assured his steadfast support, and then Christ told him that he was going to deny the Messiah three times.
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ [Zechariah 13:7] But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter declared to him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples. (Matthew 26:30-35)
I like to think of a ‘cycle of Peter’ that begins early when Jesus invites Peter to fish after a night of unproductive work. I like to use that cycle as a prophetic model of the Papacy and one day we will examine its various parts and see if they coincide with the history of the Papacy but for now please bear with me and let me take you to one important station that begins in Matthew 16:4, that is when Jesus and the disciples leave the Pharisees and Sadducees behind to “cross to the other side.” The scene can be used to aptly represent the Church as the barque of Peter launched to navigate all the way to the end of the age.
On the other side of the lake, Peter is revealed to the disciples as the one who is going to lead the Church militant until Christ’s Second Coming. Follow the action to Matthew 16:21-23 when Jesus reveals to the disciples the full import of His Passion.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23) (RSVCE)
The suffering Messiah makes his appearance but the expected glorious commander is nowhere to be seen. Of course, Peter resisted the idea. He had other things in mind, more so now that he was put in charge. I think this part prefigures the last stage of the prophetic cycle, the Papacy at the end of the age. What follows is the sad story of St. Peter’s already predicted three denials of his Master.
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a maid came up to him, and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the cock crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75)
The thrice denied Jesus, the man of sorrows adds to his sorrows the abandonment of his friends. The parable, always in my opinion, seems to wrap this part of the prophetic cycle with the cock crowing, announcing a new day prefiguring the end of the age after the Passion of the Church. The earlier proud affirmation of loyalty by Peter ends in a terrible act of cowardice, false oaths and lies: “I do not know the man!”
Many will not like what I am about to write but I will say it anyway with sadness. I believe the three denials prophetically typified in Peter’s original denials have occurred before our very eyes. These are acts unbecoming of a Pope, just like the denials of poor St. Peter were sadly revealing his shortcomings. We must not recoil but rejoice because Jesus did not take long in correcting the situation and use it to perfect Peter’s soul. Christ will also correct this situation and bring great glory to the Father. He won’t fail.
But we do know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose. (Romans 8:28 Darby)
The tree denials we have seen in our own day are these:
1. The surrendering of the Church in China to the Chinese Communist Party regime. That astonishingly took place after Pope Francis affirmed that “I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel.” (Il Messagero, June 30, 2014)
2. The idolatrous ‘Pachamama Mass’ celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica October 13, 2019.
3. The attempted destruction of the miraculous Crucifix of Saint Marcello, a valuable relic of the Church that was needlessly exposed to pouring rain for almost two hours on Friday March 27, causing the ancient relic to swell and seriously deteriorate.
The Crucifix incident is a good example of what is going to happen soon. The Masonic cabal that God has allowed to take control of the external signs of the Church, those do not believe in God in the same way that true Catholics believe. For them God is absent and Creation is essentially left as a trophy that will be owned by the strong and the cunning. They managed to take over the external apparatus of the Church and place their infiltrated operatives at the helm. What they do not know is that the Church is not an instrument that can be directed by human will. The ancient miraculous Crucifix is not an amulet one can shake at some epidemic, no. It is a reminder to the faithful of the true power of God that is not in the wood but in God Himself. Of course if I take my old 1960’s guitar out in the rain, it will explode. Anyone with a brain knows that, the curator of the sacred objects of the Vatican knows that too. That is why they always take the old images outside in a special Plexiglas case or use a high-quality reproduction instead. The taking of that particular sacred object under heavy rain was done carelessly, perhaps to mock the supposed “gullibility” of the faithful. Masons, Communists, and other militant agnostics have always despised popular faith as the belief of credulous simpletons.
These three daring denials of God will quite likely —in my opinion— bring about calamity at a global scale. The blessing given to the city and the world may bring the opposite: the destruction of Rome announced by the saints of ages past and the collapse of that usurious monstrosity we call the “global economy” these days.
God is being defied in His own house but no one is going to mock the Almighty and get away with it for long. I doubt we are going to be happily remembering these effrontery to divine love. More suffering may be at hand as a result of this.
Saint Peter repented and converted. He entered Heaven through the glorious portal of martyrdom. He ended his days on this earth glorifying God. Peter was like all of us in his humanity but he humbled himself by leaving a detailed record of his own failures as a sure proof of his humility, of the transformation of his soul by the awesome power of God.
I believe we are about to see a similar miracle, perhaps at a larger scale. When Aaron and the people committed idolatry with the golden calf, God gave Israel the Torah. After Peter denied Jesus and most of the disciples abandoned their Master, the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost and transformed that little band of believers in the Church, the universal destiny of Israel. It won’t be different now.
Come Holy Spirit and renew your Church, renew this tired world and also make us anew so we will never deny Our Lord again. Amen.
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” — St. Teresa of Avila