Father James Swanson, LC
John 13:21-33, 36-38
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?" Jesus answered, "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 he 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 he 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´t I 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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I wish to accompany you
closely on the road to Calvary. If I were to
contemplate you more often as you hang scourged and
bloody upon the cross, I’m certain I would be able
to rest in your love and base my actions
on that one truth. I know that you have loved
me with an eternal love: you have proven it
there on the wood of the cross. So I
long to respond with gratitude, peace and the firm determination
to spread your love to everyone.
help me to see and avoid the pitfalls of
1. Trusts in Christ’s Love: Peter loves Jesus.
Jesus is his best friend. Peter would do anything
for him. Like us, it distresses Peter to think he
might be separated from Jesus. He feels the strength
of his love and doesn’t hesitate to proclaim that
he is willing to die for Jesus. He means it.
That same night in the Garden of Gethsemane, he
will draw a rusty old sword and face a cohort
of professional soldiers all by himself. With a mighty
stroke (not much of a swordsman, but brave…), he
will nick the ear of the High Priest’s servant. There
really is love there and a serious intention to
make sacrifices for Jesus’ sake. But like us, there
is something he still lacks. At times I may feel
so ready to take on anything for love of
Christ. But as soon as the “anything” comes, I experience
my weakness. There’s even the risk of giving into
discouragement at my failures.
2. Making Poor Choices: We know
that Peter can make a bad decision because he has
done it often enough in the past. Five minutes
after being named head of the apostles, he is
advising Jesus to abandon the Father’s plan, a plan that
involves going to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Jesus
reacts strongly, totally rejecting this insinuation: No one comes
between him and the Father’s will. Peter has made a
big mistake, and Jesus makes that clear: “Stumbling block,”
“Satan,” “You think not as God thinks but as
man” (Cf. Matthew 16:23). And this was only one in
a series of mistakes; the Gospels list more. Part
of Peter’s appeal is that he is so much like
us. We make lots of mistakes every day. Like
Peter, we think not as God, but as men.
Yet as we know, Peter will succeed in the end
to become humble and to serve his Lord steadfastly.
Misjudgment of Situations: Peter is complacent. He thinks he
understands the situation. Everything is going well. The people
have finally acclaimed Jesus as Messiah. The chief priests,
scribes and Pharisees are upset but powerless. They attempt
to debate Jesus and show him up every day, but
always end up bested by Jesus. It seems like
it won’t be long now before Jesus has everyone convinced
that he is the Messiah and from that point
on, it should be clear sailing. Peter is about
to be blindsided, but he doesn’t realize it. The only
solution for him is to do what Jesus is
urging him to do, but he doesn’t realize that. In
spite of his respect for Jesus, he is still
sure that he knows what it best for himself.
I am convinced that my life must be rooted in
prayer and union with God?
Conversation with Christ: Dear
Lord, like Peter I have fallen many times. Every
time it was because I put my trust in
myself rather than in you. Help me to listen to
your inspirations and your inner promptings to prayer. Only
with humility will I be able to avoid falls
in the future. Please help me obtain it, Lord.
Resolution: I will start everything I do today
with a prayer, offering its fruits up to God. When
I finish each activity, I will give thanks to
Christ, my friend, for all the help he has
given me. I will offer him my successes and ask
him to forgive my failings.