(Wednesday, July 3)

“The maid who kept the door said to Peter, ‘Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?’ He said, ‘I am not.’” (Jn 18:18)

Peter is the same man who, earlier in this very chapter of the Gospel according to John, drew a sword when our Lord was arrested in Gethsemane, and in a vain attempt to stand up for His Master, cut off the right ear of the high priest’s slave (Jn 18: 10). But nobody asked or “called” Peter to do that. Yet a bit later, when Peter was waiting with the servants in the high priest’s court “to see the end” (Mt 26:58), where he is truly “called” to stand up and be counted as one of the Lord’s disciples in a less dramatic way, – to respond truthfully to a maid’s simple question, – he fails to do so.

As those of us on the Older Calendar continue the Apostles’ Fast, known in my church as Petrovsky Post or “Peter’s Fast,” and I am spending a second night at a hospice center “to see the end” of my dad’s life, this part of St. Peter’s story entered my mind. While most of the staff at this hospice center have been wonderful, there have been challenging “moments” with one of them, when I snapped a bit and said something I should not have.

I don’t know if you’ll see the connection to the Gospel story, my readers, but here’s how I’m seeing it: The call to being a “martyr” or “witness” to the Lord does not always come wrapped in heroism and extraordinary chivalry. It might come to me in the small challenges to my fidelity to Him and to the “me” He calls me to be; in conversations and dealings with “random” encounters with strangers. Lord, grant me the faith and patience to be the “me” You call me to be, regardless of the circumstances. Amen!