In our gospel today from John 18:1-19:42, there were two of Jesus’ followers who betrayed him: Judas and Peter. Judas sold him out to the chief priests and Pharisees for money. Peter denied he knew Jesus when people asked him if he was a follower.
Judas may have started out wanting to be a follower of Christ, but his greed got in the way of being a true disciple. Judas forgot, or he never knew, the forgiveness of Jesus. Out of despair for what he had done, he ran away in shame and took his own life.
Peter also betrayed Jesus, but he knew the unconditional love and forgiveness of Jesus.
Peter made that important step in his direction, like the prodigal son, turning back to Jesus
This was the turning point for Peter – he went from the coward in the courtyard, to the Peter who in future Gospels was fearless for Christ, courageous in the face of opposition, unfazed by imprisonment, and the bold proclaimer of the Good News of Jesus, despite the many attempts to silence him. Jesus trusted Peter so much he bet his Church on him!
He made Peter our first pope! Now that is unconditional love and forgiveness!
Let us learn from Peter. When we let Jesus down, and we all do that from time to time, let us run to his Agape love, mercy and forgiveness like Peter, instead of running in shame like Judas.
De Colores, Deacon Kevin