Cf. John 18:15-27
This meditation is taken from Fr. Sevin’s book Scout Meditations on the Gospel. I have Americanized the spellings and made a couple of things clearer that may have suffered in the translation from the French.
Beware of campfires where you fraternize with unknown troops. Before the logs are out, you may have denied me three times. No, you say, My scout. “Maybe the others, but not I! Even though I should have to die with You, I will not deny!”
So spoke Peter My apostle!
And while Caiaphas was questioning Me, he sat among the solders and the servants around a fire lit in the yard. No doubt he was there for the love of Me. He wanted to see what was going to become of Me. And here came the gatekeeper joining them. As she spotted Peter, she said, “This man was with the Nazorean.”
And Peter answered: “The Nazorean, I don’t know him, and I don’t understand what you are talking about.”
He had not been afraid of fighting to defend me, but he was afraid of a gossiper.
She was not accusing him, and she did not want to have him arrested.
She was simply saying: “You were with Jesus the Galilean.”
And that is what is scary. Everyone is willing to love Me, but not to follow Me. Everyone is willing to be with Me at the bottom of their hearts, but everyone is afraid of being with Me before men.
And even, alas! When you are a scout in front of other scouts.
Poor little scouts who do not dare to be with Me and who make a promise leaving out the name of God:
The name of the Father who created you
The name of the Son who died for you
The name of the Holy Spirit who gave you the strength not to blush over the Gospel when you were confirmed.
Poor little baptized ones who do not dare to act like Christians because a companion (and it might be a leader!) could say to them, as the servant said to Peter, “And you too are one of them?”
Do not be afraid of being one of them for they are those I no longer call My servants, but My friends.
I will tell you a parable, My scout: Many scouts were sitting around a campfire and were warming themselves waiting for their turn to make their promise.
And a leader stood up and swore on the fire to serve his country and to be loyal and generous.
And a scout stood up and swore alike. A second stood up and swore alike, then a third, and a fourth, and so on.
It sounded as if I did not exist. And all these teenagers had been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity: they had taken first Communion, and they were going to Mass on Sundays.
And basically, they were saying: I do not know this man.
Because they were all afraid of being recognized as a disciple, they were afraid of being one of them. And their scout promise was betraying their Christian promise.
And still another little scout stood up who had sworn to himself that he would be faithful to Me; but when he saw all those eyes staring at him, and the smiles watching his words, he took fright and merely promised to serve his country and his neighbor.
He too did not know that man.
And as he sat down, one of his neighbors said to him: “Well! I thought you were a Catholic.”
And he blushed and began to say that he was not and that he never went to church.
“But I saw you going to Communion this morning,” said one of those who had seen him going to Mass.
He denied again and protested that he was not one of them.
However, when he returned to his tent, he met the gaze of a chaplain passing by.
And he burst into tears.
And I forgave this little Saint Peter.
You might be eager to say that you are not, you still think and talk every minute as a Catholic, and as the unfaithful apostle, your words betray you.