Father James Swanson, LC
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?" 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
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.
Lord, 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
3. 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.