By Deacon Mike Ellerbrock
Catholic News Service
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Cycle A. Readings:
Gospel at the Procession With Palms: Matthew 21:1-11
1) Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
2) Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Matthew 26:14-27:66
What is the difference between Peter and Judas, both of whom denied Jesus? One becomes the rock upon which the church is founded, our first pope and a great saint. The other becomes synonymous with personal betrayal by a kiss and famous as history’s ultimate traitor.
When someone is mad at me, I don’t like it. Why? Truth be told: I don’t like the guilt of being “guilty” … busted, exposed, vulnerable, sinful.
For me to practice unconditional love, I must delve deeper for the grace and courage to empty my conscience of ego, to get to “It’s not about me!”
Simon Peter, Jesus’ close friend and confidant, boldly declares to Jesus that “though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be” and, “even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” Yet, Peter cowers three times when confronted by two girls and some bystanders: “I do not know the man.” The cock crows, signaling his betrayal.
Among the Twelve, Judas apparently held some rank, as he was appointed treasurer by Jesus.
After betraying Jesus, both Judas and Peter deeply regret their actions. Peter “weeps bitterly.”
“Flinging the money into the temple,” Judas attempts to return the “blood” bribe to the chief priests and elders and then commits suicide. What’s the difference?
True reconciliation requires “kenosis” or “emptying” ourselves, “taking the form of a slave” to “humble” ourselves for the sake of others, no matter how painful.