On this Tuesday of Holy Week, our Gospel comes from a scene at the Last Supper (John 13:21-38) in which Jesus tells the disciples that one of them will betray him. The betrayer is revealed as Jesus shares a morsel of bread dipped in wine with Judas.
It is interesting – and telling – that with the betrayal now known and on his way to turn Jesus over to those who will escort him to his passion and death, Jesus tells the remaining disciples:
Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. (John 13: 31-32).
Clearly, the manner in which we glorify God is to faithfully fulfill God’s will in our lives, for this is what Jesus is doing, and what he is referencing in this passage.
After these brief revelations, Peter boldly expresses his own fidelity to Jesus: “I will lay down my life for you.” (John 13: 37)
It is at this point that Jesus tells Peter that despite his best intentions, he in the moment of ‘truth’ will fail to keep his word.
As we continue to keep Jesus company in our Holy Week journey, we can find good company with Peter and Judas. These two men were called by Jesus to be his apostles. Even with such a privilege, the apostles continued to be quite human, and as capable as any one of us of falling into sin. How often have we with the best of intentions set out to live our faith, to love Jesus, only to fail at any given moment?
This masterpiece of Caravaggio depicts the moment in which Peter denies being a companion of Jesus, and the prediction of Jesus is now ringing in his heart. We carry these moments in our own hearts as we accompany Jesus during these holy days.
We are – and always will be – human. We strive for holiness. We strive as did Peter to remain with Jesus at all times, even when the going is difficult, as we should. But, let us not allow our failures to defeat us. Rather, let them be serious but gentle reminders of just how much we need a Savior.
We need Jesus and his forgiveness. Let us rest in him. Let us remain with him. Let us find in him our solace and consolation and renewal.