View all Gospel Reflections |
Peter Takes Charge
Tuesday of Holy Week
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’s side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’s 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 Judas 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 Judas 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 I not 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to pray well so that if I face difficulties today, I will deal with them as a true follower of yours.
- Jesus Was Troubled: Peter had never seen Jesus in such a state. Usually, Jesus was totally in control of himself, the master of the situation, but tonight it was obvious that he had a lot on his mind. He was troubled. Peter loved Jesus. Jesus was his best friend. Jesus had made him the leader of the Apostles. Usually it was Peter who relied on the strength of Jesus, but tonight, he wondered, “Does Jesus need to lean on me?”
- Peter the Brave: When Jesus told them that one of them would betray him, Peter was probably shocked. He immediately asked John to find out who it was. Peter did not intend to let anyone betray Jesus! Later, he would promise to die rather than let anything separate them. He really meant it. He thought he was capable of dying for Jesus and he would even bring a sword with him when they went to the Garden of Gethsemane later that night. But Peter was wrong. He overestimated his own courage and let Jesus down. Jesus would forgive him but Peter would first need to muster within himself the courage to seek forgiveness.
- Peter’s Example: Peter denied Christ three times, as Jesus had predicted, even though he had pledged to die for Christ. His betrayal was known by Christ, by John, and eventually by all of the disciples he was supposed to lead. He was probably personally devastated, mortified, and very contrite. His was a passion of negative emotions. When we find ourselves in a dark place, where do we turn? Peter turned to Christ. After Christ’s Resurrection, Peter literally leaped out of a boat to greet Jesus on the shore. He was that eager for reconciliation. Are we? When sinfulness weighs us down, Jesus waits for us in the sacrament of reconciliation. He wants to forgive us and give us the means to restore ourselves (penance).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, sometimes I look around at others and feel pretty satisfied with myself. I take my spiritual life seriously when so few do. I pray daily and most of the people around me don’t pray at all. I overestimate my capacity for virtue. Help me to realize that my goal is not to be better than others, or even to be perfectly virtuous. My goal is to please you in all that I do and love you with my whole heart.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will put more effort and focus into my prayers so that I can be a little closer to you.
For Further Reflection: In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart—The Journal of a Priest at Prayer by A Benedictine Monk
Father James Swanson is from Miles City, Montana, joined the Legionaries of Christ in 1983, and currently works in Atlanta, Georgia. He enjoys books, craft beers, and extreme birding.