Tuesday of Holy Week
By Father James Swanson, LC
John 13:21-33, 36-38
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 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.
Petition: Lord, help me to see and avoid the pitfalls of pride.
- 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.
- 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.