Tuesday of Holy Week
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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. …Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus said to him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follower later.” Peter said to him, “Master…I will lay down my life for you.”
Have I toiled in vain? It’s a lot easier to work with machines than with people. Machines are predictable. People can get so complicated. Machines are very reliable and dependable. People, not so much. And when it comes to breaking down; hands down, machines are easier to fix. They don’t hide their problems. People do, and we do a good of it.
It’s a lot easier to please God than it is to please people. God is very predictable. We know where He stands on many issues, and He never budges. People, on the other hand, will stand “behind” you one moment and then confront you the next. What in the world are you thinking?
God is a Father. He is not a mechanic. He doesn’t work on cars. He works on us. He doesn’t occupy His time spinning worlds. He occupies it with His children, and this is a full-time job.
Has the Lord toiled in vain for you?
It was night. As a priest, I know many souls who were once distant from God, never once thinking of Him. But then one day, like the prodigal son, they returned to their Father’s house and to his warm embrace.
Tomorrow night; that is, Holy Wednesday, I, along with a few other priests, will hear the priceless confessions of countless souls. Some of them will not have been to confession in five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty even fifty years. All their sins will be forgiven, forgotten, forever. For many, this day will mark the beginning of a new day, a new dawn, a new beginning. A light will appear at the end of what seemed to be an everlasting dark tunnel.
Tonight will be an amazing night of tears and grace.
Master, where are you going? It’s clear: something is broken and someone needs to fix it. Our relationship with God is broken and someone needs to fix it. Christ is going to fix it. He will do it first so we can follow next. This is a teaching moment. “Come follow me.”
I will lay down my life for you. Peter’s heart was in the right place. He loved the Lord. But loving someone is a lot easier than following them. One moment we’re standing beside our best friend, the next we’re chanting “Crucify Him. It’s easy to love someone from a distance. We usually call this an affair. It’s another thing to love someone close up and with strings attached. We usually call this a marriage.
On the one hand we want the Lord to fix our problems. On the other, we don’t want to see Him go. We are so complicated. We want Jesus to fix our problems from the safety of His home. Love doesn’t work that way. We don’t realize love can get awfully muddy and bloody. It’s strange, but this kind of reminds me of the women and children on the Titanic. They wanted their husbands to fix the problem, they just didn’t want to see them go away.
The Lord made a bet with His Apostles. He bet His life on it: If I can teach you how to love, then I’m sure you’ll teach others how to love. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you” (cf. Jn 13:34-35).
Peter’s heart was in the right place but his mind wasn’t there yet. He needed an image burned into his memory. He needed to first witness love before he could imitate it. No wonder why the Lord said to him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follower later.” Once love is observed, it is hard to resist it.
Master, I will lay down my life for you? Who said these words? The Lord and His servant, Peter. Congratulations, Peter! You said it and did it.
Sorry for the analogy, but love and sacrifice go together like roasted marshmallows and chocolate on a graham cracker. It’s messy but it’s very, very sweet. (0)
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