Yesterday we met Peter. Today we meet Judas.
It may be that these two men were similar in many ways. Certainly they had both said yes to Christ and spent three years as his disciples leaving everything to follow him.
They were both numbered among the closest friends of Jesus and were a part of the small group called together by Jesus to share his last supper.
They both failed Jesus in significant ways, one in denying any connection with Jesus in his hour of greatest need, the other providing information that led directly to his arrest and crucifixion.
So what is the difference between these two men? What is it that enabled history since their failures to call one simply “the betrayer” and bestow on the other the exulted titles of fearless teacher of the faith and first pope?
In a word its all about what happens next.
We all fail. If we let our story stop with a downward embarrassed gaze at the point of our failure as Judas did then our life is freeze-framed in that posture and we are forever failures.
If however we allow our gaze to rise above our shame and guilt and even hesitantly desire a restored relationship with Jesus, we are saved. Jesus does not miss any opportunity we give, and he lifts us to our feet again
A mature person of faith will fail and falls, but then feeling remorse will allow Jesus to be a personal saviour.
Saints are not people who never sin. Saints are people like us who always look to Jesus for the last and always loving word.
It doesn’t take me long to call to mind moments when I have felt, acted and spoken like a denier and a betrayer of Jesus. What makes the difference is what I do when I realise that have denied or betrayed.
After a fall do we hide in shame, wallowing in our guilt and keeping a distance from Christ who is our only hope?
Ask the Holy Spirit now to help you to notice the opportunities you have in your life this week to experience the mercy and healing of Jesus. Now allow the Holy Spirit to transform any feeling of guilt or shame you have today into an opportunity for Jesus to lift you up.
Now get up, and begin from this moment to live as a passionate disciple of Jesus once again.
Never be afraid to get up again and again.
My favourite altar in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, The Navicella of St. Peter.
Here is the post from a couple of years ago at this altar.
Such a fine reflection, Fr John. As often as I put myself on some cross of unkindness, Jesus tenderly takes me down, reminding me that all crucifixions have resurrection in him. Sometimes, I feel him laughing at the seriousness of my self-concern. I think he’s trying to tell us that this is the way of growth.
Thank you Joy for that addition to a fine reflection. I like the idea of Jesus laughing at the seriousness of my self concern!
Great reflection Pa John I really like the TR quote, brilliant !
Very inspiring way to start the day, thank you. Love the idea that failure in itself is not the end but can be the beginning.
Failure then has new beginnings.
Lucky we can have many.
A breathtakingly beautiful altar! I let someone down and felt like a betrayer. What next? Jesus helps
me to get up and carry on without guilt. Jesus is always my personal saviour.
Praise God for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, where perfection happens, and the unimaginable Glory of God is experienced – wonder upon wonder