Monday, April 10, 2006

We are Judas or Peter--our Choice!

Penitens, A Penitent Blogger explores Judas in today's Gospel:
Today's Gospel (John 12:1-11) mentions the figure of Judas, a name bandied about gleefully in these days by the mainstream media and agenda-driven cultural elites who trumpet a so-called "Gospel of Judas." This gnostic "gospel" was written decades (if not centuries) after the canonical Gospels, provides virtually no solid historical information about the real Judas Iscariot, and represents views of Christ, humanity and the universe that are truly bizarre.

Our focus, of course, should not be Judas, but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Moreover, by focusing too much on what Judas did, we forget our own role in the betrayal and death of Christ, for he died to take away our sins.

Yes, Judas betrayed him, but Christ ultimately died because of us and because of our sins.

By our sin, we hand over Christ to be crucified – often for much less than the value of thirty pieces of silver.

By our sin, we betray Christ. Some of us even try to “kiss up” to Christ by putting great efforts into the exercise of prayer, public worship, and even social justice, while leaving our personal moral failures and lack of true penitence unchecked.
He then reminds us of the most important point we should understand:
But we do not have to be.

Christ calls us to repentance – no matter what we have done – and he extends to us his infinite love and mercy.
Peter and Judas denied and betrayed the Lord. Peter repented. Judas despaired. We face the same choice, for we, too, have been both Peter and Judas.

Who among us truly wants to stand and say that he hasn't denied the Lord? Not yours truly; I know only too well those times in which my actions gave witness to my own vainglory, or even worst, Nothing. Who among us can honestly say he hasn't betrayed the Lord? You won't find me among their number; I've too often abused the most precious gift our God has given me--himself!

Why can I dare to utter these truths now? Because I heard our Good Shepherd call me back to himself. And I answered.

We all can.

We often refuse to recognize the genuine Self that our God has given us. We pursue every illusion of who we believe we are until our broken lives cry out from our ruins. He comes. He consoles. He calls.

We can answer. Thus, we, like Peter, can enjoy the overpowering awe of his mercy. We can live in him again.

Judas or Peter? Our choice.

Always our choice.