April 4th, 2023

The Gospel according to John (13:21-33, 36-38) 

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“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.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now? 
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”


As we are now in the final days of our Lenten observance, the one phrase from today’s Gospel that jumped out at me was Peter’s response to Jesus, where he says, “Master, why can I not follow you now?”  What a great question for us to ponder as we begin Holy Week!  Of course, we do know that Peter would indeed go on to deny Jesus, just hours after this conversation, but Jesus still took him back, allowing him to remain His follower and the one with the keys of the kingdom.

What is it that keeps us from being able to follow Jesus?  I believe that all of us want to be good followers of His, sharing His love and kindness wherever we go, avoiding those things that draw us away from Him.  But, the truth is that we are all human beings.  We have free will, and we have so many things that would call us to choose those things that do not line up with Jesus’ plan for our lives.  It is our own human weakness that is the reason we can’t follow Jesus.

So, what do we do about it, then?  Well, if we were able, we would use seasons like this Lent to critically look at how we live our lives, identify places where we can do better, and then take this season to try to improve in those areas.  If you have done that for yourself this Lent, then you have my admiration!  If you’re thinking that you need a little more time, and this Lent has maybe gotten away from you a bit, then you have my sympathies – I definitely know how that goes!

Here’s the good news: God’s supply of “second chances” for us has no end.  If we turn back to Him, He will always take us back.  Always!  We should never fear that anything we have done would make reconciliation impossible, because it won’t.  But, I will say that the fact that the supply of “second chances” is always available does not mean we should delay in seeking reconciliation, or put it off.  Let us say to ourselves, “what can I do today to live a better example of Jesus’ love in my own life?”  Then, let us listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and then, go and do something new.

Maybe you’re being called to reconciliation even right now.  Holy Week is the last opportunity before Easter to be reconciled (we have our communal reconciliation service tonight at my own parish of St Rita).  Be reconciled, and begin now to live in that Easter joy that awaits us this coming weekend!

Action for the Day:

Take time to look at your experience of this Lent, and if you still feel you need to be renewed, just start today!  Why not seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation now?  Check with your parish office to see where a Reconciliation Service is happening, and go, receive that wonderful gift of healing and forgiveness!

If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below! 

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