“Peter said to him in reply, ‘Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.’” Peter thought pretty highly of his faith. On the eve of Christ’s death he professed, in essence, that he was more committed to Jesus than anyone else. And yet, we know how the story turns out: when put to the test in the moment that mattered, Peter “began to curse and to swear, ‘I do not know the man.’”
On this Palm Sunday, we hear many stories of betrayal. The crowds, who once hailed Jesus with “hosannas,” will soon be chanting, “Let him be crucified!” Judas, who was counted among the closest companions of the Lord, turns him over to the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver. And Peter falls short in the moment of truth, and then “went out and began to weep bitterly.”
Here in the hours before Christ faces crucifixion, he is surrounded by false friends. Just when he most needs the support, he is abandoned. No wonder he feels the suffering even of being forgotten by his Father while he hangs on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” What trials Jesus endured, not only physically but emotionally as well.
It’s easy to glaze over this as a story from the past that does not involve us. But in truth, Jesus suffered all of this for each one of us. He would have preferred things to go otherwise, but submitted to his Father’s will because he knew “it must come to pass in this way.” Jesus’ passion and death took place in order to bring us salvation. So today, may we not be counted among his many betrayers, but may we be truly grateful for the gift of the cross and show it through a life of sincere faith.
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