Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poor Peter

I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter!

Most of my posts during Lent focused on our Lord, and rightly so. And, given that it is the Pauline year, I have also spent some time focusing on St. Paul.

But it was Peter that really moved me this Easter Triduum. For some reason I couldn't get his denial of Jesus out of my head.

Poor Peter.

Here is a favored disciple of Jesus - one who has been told he is the rock on which Jesus will build His church. Peter continually professes his support and love for Jesus throughout the Gospels.

But imagine what it was like for him when, after proclaiming his undying loyalty to Jesus, was told him he would deny Christ three times. He must have been shocked, right? I mean, Peter just got done telling Jesus that he would follow him to death. And Jesus replies by telling him he will pretend he never even knew Him.

Peter must have spent much of that Last Supper pondering how that could be possible.

Of course, it gets worse.

What about that moment when that prophesy came true? That exact second Peter realized what he had done. I'm sure he didn't realize what he was doing at the time - having probably been afraid for his life. But when that cock crowed, and reality hit, it must have been an awful feeling.

But I imagine that still wasn't the worst of it.

Imagine what Peter must have felt once Jesus breathed his last. Oh the guilt and sorrow that must have weighed on his heart knowing that the last thing he did while Jesus was alive was deny Him! Imagine what those two days were like, not knowing for sure if he would ever see Christ again to apologize.

This really gave me pause this Easter, partly because I had never really focused on the Passion from Peter's point of view and partly because I know that every time I sin I am doing the same thing Peter did. (And it's happened more than three times, trust me!)

The good news, is that Peter's denial leads to one of the most beautiful events in the New Testament. In John 21:15, the Resurrected Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Peter seems annoyed at the questioning at the time, but the love that Jesus shows there is amazing. Our Lord asks Peter to tell Him he loves Him three times ... one time for each denial. What a conscience cleaner that must have been!

Jesus, thank you for forgiving us even when we turn our back to you.
St. Peter, thank you for your courage and perseverance. Please pray for us.

God Bless.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Glorious Easter!

"Why do you seek the living among
the dead?

He is not here but has been raised!"

A very Blessed and Holy Easter to all of you.

God Bless.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I have watched Mel Gibson's The Passion every Good Friday since it came out in the theaters. It has become somewhat of a yearly tradition for me.

I know there are a lot of discussions about whether the film paints Jewish people or Roman people in a bad light, but I try and put that debate aside and enjoy the film as a way to spend time with Jesus. To me, the film helps me connect with what Good Friday is all about - Jesus suffering for our sins. And on this topic, Mel scores a 10 in my book.

The film is dark, depressing, and painful. And this is exactly what a movie about Christ's suffering should be. There is a 10 minute clip - where the Roman guards are whipping and beating Jesus - that is excruciating to watch. There is one part in particular where it seems like they can not beat him any more ... and then they roll him over and continue to torture him. It makes me sick to my stomach - and that is exactly the way I want to feel on Good Friday.

If I feel that bad just watching a reenactment, I can only imagine how it felt to those who witnessed it live. (And of course, how horrific it must have been for our Lord.)

But He endured it all. He endured for me, and for you, and for everyone else who will follow Him.

Thank you, Jesus, for suffering so greatly for our sins. May we never forget your Sacrifice.

I hope you all have a very Spiritual Good Friday.

God Bless.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lenten Perspective #4

What if someone told you that if you left your house today you were going to get hit by a car and die?

Would you leave your house?

I know I wouldn't.

For those of you that were brave enough to say yes, what if instead of getting hit by a car you were going to be tortured and beaten,
mocked in front of everyone you care about, and left to die a slow
painful death?

Would anyone in their right mind leave their house?

But Jesus basically did that. He headed towards Jerusalem knowing that He was going to die a painful death. He kept walking, knowing full well that He was going to be beaten and mocked. Knowing full well that He was going to have to carry a heavy cross - and an even heavier burden of our sins - past a jeering crowd. Knowing full well how painful those nails would be as they pierced His skin.
And knowing full well he was going to die in one of the most evil ways humanity ever invented.

How did He put one foot in front of the other with that knowledge?

How did He even get any sleep the night before he broke bread with his Apostles?

And how did He push on, knowing he was doing all this for a bunch of sinners?

Jesus, thank you for doing all that just so we can one day be with you in Paradise. There are no words that can express our gratitude.

God Bless.