So today I want to focus on two thoughts as we begin this Holy week: The first concerns Judas. Judas was an apostle and one of Jesus’ best friends. They traveled together for three years and Judas witnessed miracles of healing, forgiveness, love and His saving power in the lives of so many people. Why then did Judas sell his friend to die? What was Judas searching for in his life that he had to sell a healer, a friend, and the Son of God?
This question then causes me to ask myself the same: why do I turn away from the Jesus? I know and see firsthand how He has worked miracles in my life and so many other lives. I can count blessings such as great parents and family, many friends who have led me to know him more deeply, and my vocation of marriage, which I will take part in this summer to a faithful Catholic woman. He also gives me his mercy on a regular basis in the sacrament of confession. Even after all this, I am impatient, unloving, and uncharitable, and a gossip on a daily basis. I am a sinner and as sin is a break in the unity from my relationship with Christ, I see myself leaning towards the same darkness that Judas was leaning towards after his refusal and denial of Christ.
Although this may sound hopeless, we must take another step into the spiritual life. This then leads me into my second thought: the comparison of the lives of Judas and Peter.
I came across a writing from the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:
“Peter and Judas both followed Jesus for three years. They also both denied Jesus in his greatest time of need. But that is where the similarities end. Peter then accepted Our Lord’s mercy and repented and Judas, well he thought his crime too big for mercy and hung himself. And the pity of it all was he might have been Saint Judas. He possessed what every soul possesses: a tremendous potential for sanctity and peace.”
You see I am a sinner, but God still loves me and continues to call me to fish after men. This morning, I was told in confession a tough fact that I still wrestle with: I am human and do not need to be perfect. God is not asking you perfection. He is asking you to serve Him today to the best of your abilities and to follow the church’s teaching. Then in response to serving Him, and following His will to share that love with others. And when, not if, you sin or deny Christ to always remember that God’s mercy is always available, repent, and continue to strive for sainthood. To constantly strive to see past our own sin and darkness and see the Light of Christ radiating to and through our hearts.
While we continue to reflect on this Holy Week and Lent, all I ask is that if it is you or someone you know please continue to pray for anyone who has turned away from God’s love and mercy in their life. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen writes, “Let us be sure that whatever our sins, and regardless of the depths of our betrayal, there is ever a Hand outstretched to embrace, a Face shining with the light of forgiveness, and a Divine Voice that speaks a word to us, as it did with Judas even unto the end: Friend.”