The God Who is Faithful and True

John 13: 21-33, 36-38
Is 49:1-6 / Ps 71: 1-6, 15,17

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.
(John 13:38)

God tempers our fidelity
In the fire of tests and trials.
He’ll turn to good all inequities,
Even betrayals and denials.

As the time drew near for the culmination of our Lord’s mission, He gathered the 12 apostles for the feast of the Passover. Before they ate the meal, He washed their feet as His last lesson on the essential meaning of leadership (servanthood). Then He dispatched Judas to proceed with his scheme of betrayal. After Judas left, Jesus said, “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer… Where I am going, you cannot follow Me now, though you will follow Me later.” Immediately, Peter reacted (as he always did), saying, “Master, why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You.” But Jesus knew his heart, and said, “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.”

Reflection

The last meal that Jesus shared with His friends before His passion and death must have been the saddest experience of His life. He knew that He was going to be betrayed by one of them. Then, another whom He had anointed to be their leader would reveal his cowardice, and deny His friendship consecutively for three times, barely a few hours after pledging that he would lay down his life for Him.

Judas has come to symbolize for us the height of treachery, which tragically drove him to the unpardonable sin of despair. He was no doubt a friend of Jesus, especially chosen by the Master to be the group’s treasurer. How could Judas betray such a sacred confidence and a friend like Jesus? And then Peter, whom He had exalted as the rock upon which He would build His Church. How could he jeopardize this position Jesus bequeathed to him as the apostles’ leader, declaring his loyalty to the end for all to hear, and then denying he knew Jesus at the first sign of danger?

The case of Judas shows us how wicked a person can become because of money. But aren’t we all in danger of becoming a little like Judas whenever we put the pursuit of money (our business) above our concern to become closer to Jesus and the Father? How many stall owners in malls and markets close shop on Sundays? Isn’t there also a bit of Peter’s cowardice in us whenever we hesitate to stand up for Jesus or the Gospel when our friends start criticizing Church doctrines or our Catholic beliefs like the observance of the Holy Week? How easily we justify our denials by saying we just don’t want to offend our friends.

Father, stir us when we hesitate to stand up for Jesus or His Word in our workplaces and our fellowships. Disturb our conscience should we start to sacrifice our moral values for the sake of material gain. Prevent us from ever denying Jesus. Amen.

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