Daily Reflection – 4/16/19
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.( John 12:1-11)
Today’s gospel reading juxtaposes, but also brings into stark contrast two very important persons in the life of Jesus, two men who belonged to his inner circle of friends: Peter who was to become the leader of his band of apostles, and Judas, a man whom Jesus trusted enough to make him the ‘treasurer’ of the group.
Both men shall sin, both shall fall short and fail to live up to the demands of loyalty and friendship. But whereas Peter repents and recognizes the immensity and boundlessness of Christ’s forgiveness, compassion, and understanding, Judas will know only despair and hopelessness, because his vision can see no farther than the pain and suffering his betrayal will cause the one person he has loved and committed to giving his life.
Sin can damage the bond of friendship between ourselves and a God who cares deeply for us. And yet, as St. Paul tells us: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more”. (Rom. 5:2) This was something Judas forgot, but Peter remembered.
Our God is a loving, merciful, and patient God who is willing to wait for us to turn away from our sins, and is always ready to give a repentant sinner a second chance. Lent is a time we are asked to turn away from sin and recover our original blessedness, as Peter did. God is patient and is willing to wait. But we can’t make him wait too long.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, 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.
Christ loves us in our weakness, in our failings, in our sinfulness. That is the message of this Holy Week. His love is not a reward for good behavior. The Lord gives his love to us before we do anything and he is faithful in his love for us even when we betray and deny him in various ways. His faithful love encourages and inspires us to keep returning to him and to keep renewing our following of him.