John 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night. When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”
As we move forward in this Holy Week we see Jesus moving toward the crucifixion. He gathered the twelve Apostles for the Last Supper. He knew what was coming because Jesus told them to celebrate the Eucharist “in memory of me”. He knew one of the twelve would betray Him and another would deny Him. But Jesus came to do the will of the Father – to die for us and to rise again so that we could follow Him into heaven one day.
We see the two reactions of Judas and Peter. Judas betrayed Christ and then despaired. He hung himself out of desperation for what he had done.
Peter denied Christ three times. Imagine the shame and guilt Peter felt after denying the Lord. But Peter didn’t despair. When Jesus gave Peter the opportunity for reconciliation, Peter readily accepted and reunited with Jesus. Not only was Peter forgiven, but he was given the keys to run this new Church.
We too betray and deny Christ with our thoughts words and actions. The evil one wants us to isolate ourselves and despair. He wants us to feel that we cannot be forgiven. However, Jesus reaches out to us in love, offering us reconciliation and a chance to start over. Some of the greatest saints were great sinners (St. Peter, St. Augustine, the woman caught in adultery).
Take time this week to reflect:
1) Where do I need conversion of heart?
2) Is there a sin that plagues me, that causes me great shame and guilt?
3) Do I believe in the infinite mercy of God in my life?
Seek Jesus today to reconcile. He awaits us with open arms. He loves us and desires eternal life for us. Don’t allow the evil one to make you feel unforgiveable and unlovable. You are loved more than you can imagine.
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