Grace to you!
We continue our reflections on the personalities who were part of the last events leading to Easter. Today, we focus on Judas and Peter, especially relating to what happened at the Last Supper over two thousand years ago.
We can visualize Jesus speaking of his betrayal. First, he said the one to whom he will give the morsel after he dipped it, will betray him (see Jn 13:26). He gave the morsel to Judas. Second, Jesus predicted the betrayal of Peter, the leader of the apostles; a betrayal we know happened as Jesus forewarned.
So, what do we glean from these two characters? How would the roles they played help us to grow and love Jesus more?
Judas was an apostle; and if we are to use contemporary language, he was a top Church hierarchy, like the bishop or even a Cardinal. He was expected to know better, but did he? The story suggests, definitely not.
His was a typical example of social gospel proponent. He implied that “worship” or service must be first for the poor and not to God in objection to Mary of Bethany’s gesture of true worship which we discussed yesterday. (Mary broke and poured generously a costly ointment on the feet of Jesus). Judas quickly forgot that throughout the life of Jesus, ample time and resources were spent taking care of the poor. He misplaced true worship with social works, a misplaced priority.
It is unfortunate we see this more frequently than desired, beginning from the Church hierarchy to the least. The character of Judas must be watched and shouldn’t be the right disposition for the Holy Week. There is time for everything and we shouldn’t make worship a matter of social concerns; since doing so takes the focus away from Christ to somewhere else. For a Christian, true service for the needy must spring from true worship of Christ, and not the other way round.
Similarly, I see Judas as an example of people who approach Jesus and his Church with misguided, wrong intentions. His was a sneaky concern for the poor, then greed, fraud, and finally, betrayal for money leading to the arrest of Jesus. These evils are still recurrent in every church today.
Holy Week should be a time for us to ask ourselves: What is my motivation for following Jesus, for being a clergy, a Christian, for working in the church or even for the practice of virtues? I believe that without good intentions, acts could be something not quite desirable. “The love of money,” the bible says, “is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Peter is another character to examine. Excessive zeal was his undoing. Zeal is good, but excessive zeal could be a challenge to the spiritual life. How do we balance our spiritual life and exercises with moderation?
In addition, we see in Peter too, an ego which must be crushed by the worst humiliation of betrayal.
One of the best ways to identify with Christ of the Paschal Mystery is to approach him in the most unassuming way and show him how much we need him and how ready we are to be part of his cross, a necessary step to his glory.
Pray: Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday of Holy Week: Is 49:1-6; Jn 13:21-33, 36-38]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.