As I was meditating on our readings for Palm Sunday and what to write for this reflection, I was struck by the difference between Judas and Peter. During the course of the last week of Jesus’ life before He died, they both did something terrible, but the ultimate outcome for each was drastically different.
Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. We aren’t sure why or what he was thinking, but he obviously did not think that Jesus would be condemned to death, because, as it became clear that Jesus would die, he went back to the religious leaders and tried to stop the whole thing, even throwing the silver pieces at their feet. When he realized they would not change their minds, he went out and committed suicide, I presume out of shame and guilt.
Peter, after bragging that he would die for Jesus, denied knowing Him three times and ran away. He was nowhere to be found during the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. Yet he became the rock upon which Jesus built His Church. Why such radically different outcomes, when they both had done horrible things?
Perhaps the answer is humility: maybe Judas was so proud of who he was that he was not able to face what he had done. If he knew Jesus at all, he would have known that Jesus would forgive him. But he couldn’t bring himself to face it.
Peter realized what he had done and he wept bitterly. He had the humility to accept his weakness and to face Jesus in the upper room after the resurrection, three times saying that he loved Him -- once for each time he betrayed Him. He was able to accept Jesus’ love and forgiveness and forgive himself.
All of us sin. All of us fail, sometimes miserably. But Jesus is always there, offering forgiveness and inviting us to come back. Are we humble enough to accept it, as did Peter, or do we turn away, like Judas?
Jesus always wants us to be like Peter; He is always waiting for us to accept His forgiveness and mercy. Hopefully, we are doing it. God bless.
Church sign of the week: You come from dust, you return to dust. That is why I don’t dust: it could be someone I know!