BETRAYAL AND DENIAL

Tuesday of Holy Week      

            The scene in today’s gospel reading is portrayed in Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.

            Jesus tells the disciples that one of them will betray him. We recognize in those words Jesus’ reference to Judas. But, according to Joseph Krempa, it can be true in any one of us. We have also betrayed the Lord by betraying one another.

            We have betrayed each other, in one way or another, because our expectations of each other are not met. We betrayed our parents who failed to love us the way we expected them to. We betrayed our friends who did not measure up to our standards. We betrayed people outside of our circles who are simply different from us. We betrayed members of our community who are not as ‘good’ as we thought them to be. Betrayal could be in the form of deep-seated resentment, unwillingness to forgive, or inability to accept the person for what he or she is.

            At the end, we have Peter’s bravado and his bold commitment to Christ to which Jesus responds that Peter will disown him. It is very easy for us to feel superior to Peter and be condescending toward his weakness. Yet, there is the weakness of Peter in each of us. What happen to Peter can happen to us as well. We can make great affirmations of our loyalty to Christ – we can make “big promises” to him: that we will spend more time with him to get to know him better, that we will use our charisma to let others know him and love him, that we will engage our talents and resources to serve him, that we will actively share and participate in his mission… and many other ways of promising our commitment to him.

            But then, when the time comes to take the first step, something always seems to come up that keeps us from following through. When our career or business is already doing well, we get too busy and we hardly spend time in prayer. When we are already becoming famous and popular, we already forget to make Jesus known to others. When we already have the means to realize our ambition, we do not anymore participate in the Church’s mission. At that moment, deep inside us, the cock crows! We have repeated Peter’s denial. We have set aside our commitment to Christ. We have betrayed the Lord.

            We all need the grace and strength of Christ not only to be faithful but also to remain faithful to Christ anywhere and everywhere. May we not betray and deny the Lord in any way.

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