Peter and Judas. It has been observed by many that both Peter and Judas sinned greatly against Jesus by betraying and abandoning him when Jesus needed them most. Yet Judas is remembered as a traitor, while Peter is remembered as the first pope. Why the difference?
Acceptance of Grace. Peter was able to recognize that the love and mercy of Jesus was powerful enough to forgive even his great sin. Judas, whether because he could not or would not, did not seek that same mercy and forgiveness.
To emphasize to Peter that he has forgiven him, Jesus asks him three times whether Peter loves him? And three times he affirms his love for Jesus, in contrast to the three times he denied knowing him.
But there is a striking difference that is not always noticed. Peter does not boldly boast he will never depart from Jesus unlike the others. He goes from the self-assurance we often see before the resurrection, to the faithful disciple who will give his life for Jesus. Now he is truly ready to be a disciple of Jesus. Now he is truly ready to be the first pope. Now he is truly ready because he knows who he is, and he knows what he is.
No longer does everything depend on Peter. His boldness in proclaiming the faith is clearly the result of his newfound trust, complete trust in Jesus.
Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus? If you do, discern what it is that he asks of you. For Peter, it was to feed and tend the followers of Jesus. What is it for you? Take a moment today to ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart, and to help you see clearly what Jesus asks of you today.
Let us pray.
Dear Jesus, when we focus only on ourselves, we either feel overwhelmed, or we feel overconfident. Only when we accept you are we able to become the persons you want us to be. Help us to receive your Spirit today. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Music: Cheezy Piano Medley by Alexander Nakarada
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