Today’s Gospel reading (Jn 13:21-33, 36-38) centers on Jesus, Judas, and Peter. Since, as I explained yesterday, I am placing myself within the accounts of Holy Week in Scripture, I had to decide the viewpoint from which I would most benefit.
It’s not easy. Of the 2 apostles to choose from in this Biblical account, one is a betrayer and one is denier of Jesus. Some choice. But while Judas never seeks forgiveness, but only despairs, Peter does, later in the story, weep from regret for his actions, but he also seeks forgiveness from Jesus which he, of course, receives. And then goes on to be a mighty warrior in the Lord’s Army as we witness in the Acts of the Apostles. Peter knows no fear of anyone after Jesus gives him charge over His “sheep.” (Jn 21:15-17)
I know I don’t want to despair of God’s love and mercy, as Judas does. But perhaps, for a moment, I can take on the situation in which he finds himself. The Broadway play, “Jesus Christ Superstar” views Jesus’ public ministry, passion and death from the perspective of Judas. We cannot know the true motivation. But John’s narrative does say that the devil had a role in what Judas decided to do. We would call that temptation and succumbing to it, in his case.
So, when I am tempted, do I acquiesce to that desire that I know is not good for me or whoever else it involves? Have I ever? Sadly, yes. Will I again? With the grace of God, I hope not. But God is a God of second chances. To despair and so be convinced that God can never forgive our sin is the worst situation of all. We have to know, we must believe that God will forgive us if we are truly sorry (and resolve to make restitution some how for our transgressions, as well).
Jesus died for us all, but we also must know that we have a part in our salvation, too. We have to want to be saved. We have to humble ourselves enough to say not only, “I’m sorry,” but also, “Can you please forgive me, Lord?” Asking for forgiveness is always tough. It means more than “I’m sorry.” It means we wait patiently for the One we have sinned against to forgive us.
For some of us, waiting for that word is too much to bear. Why should we have to wait for someone else to ‘let us off the hook?’ Our pride gets in the way. Pride is often the reason we can’t ask for forgiveness and it is often why we sin.
I will always hope in God’s mercy. You should, too. It’s everlasting and with depths we can never comprehend. That’s what came of today’s Gospel reading for me…