Simon, Son of John

The sting of your words is a bitter reminder
Of the betrayal by cowardice I gave to you
On the night of all nights when you wanted me
By your side, which was then pierced for me.

But now your gentle voice pierces my very soul,
Telling me to say today what I then could not;
You grieve me to demand an answer to questions
That I have asked myself a thousand times since.

I do not know how I, the thrice-denying devotee,
Could feed your lambs or tend your sheep.
How can I, who lacked the strength to stand with you,
Turn again so as to strengthen my brothers?

And yet you ask, “Do you love me more than these?
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Oh, Lord, you know–you know; and I will follow.