“WILL YOU LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE FOR ME? JN 13:21-33, 36-38
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
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?”
“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.” JN 13:21-33, 36-38
Betrayal…is there anything worse than having your heart torn apart by the one’s you love most. The betrayal of Judas and denial by Peter three times may have caused Jesus more pain and suffering than all of the mental and physical pain in His Passion. The difference between Judas and Peter in their betrayal and denial is an important lesson to learn. I learned it from one of my very own 8th graders who just reflected on a talk by a young man who struggled with an addiction to pornography. My student learned that through addiction and overcoming it, “we are not defined by our actions, but how we respond to our actions.” Profound.
We find the face of Christ in our suffering and in those suffering around us. We will all suffer, Christ never promises to take that away. Judas responded by killing himself, Peter responded by weeping, resentment, and later Jesus will give him a chance to be forgiven with his three fold, “You know that I love you” after the resurrection.
Each time we deny Jesus or betray Him with our selfishness and sin, He is ready to forgive. It doesn’t matter how many times or how big of a whopper the sin is, it depends on how you respond to it. It depends on how you love again to avoid it. Will we use Christ like a slot machine and do it again (sin of presumption) or will we give it to Him so His grace and suffering can do its work. God’s grace and love restore what sin has damaged. How open are you to this grace and love?
Christ wants us to embrace our suffering and sin so we can come to know how much He loves us and how badly He wants to forgive us to make things right with the Father. Most people just get stuck or scared in life. Jesus has opened up an avenue back to the Father, but it requires many struggles and lessons learned to grow in holiness.
This Lent bust loose from the chains of sin and selfishness by allowing Christ and His grace to transform you. Give up your will so you can do His Will. There is no problem God’s grace cannot overcome. You may need counseling or medicine as well, God has put people in our lives to help transform us as well. Allow the light of Christ to bring out the ugliness in the darkness of your soul, so His healing power can begin!
Today’s challenge: Respond to your brokenness. Respond to your sin. Respond to your being chained down. Respond by allowing God’s love to free you from brokenness, sin, and being chained down.
Be a servant, become a saint!