Sunday, March 20, 2005

Passion Sunday Reflection: Judas vs. St. Peter

Today's Palm Sunday in the Catholic Church— also known as Passion Sunday. Traditionally we have procession of the palm to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, hailed as King. The Gospel reading however, is that of the passion of Christ.

Today, unlike many Passion Sundays ago, I was more attuned to the Mass and its readings than I normally was (as attuned as I would like to be in future). And the homily delivered by Fr. JJ connected with me right away. He mentioned about how in the past the Passion was read on the 5th sunday of Lent, and not on the Palm Sunday, but then this practice was adopted as the Church sees it fitting to present a whole story of salvation from the Passion leading to the Resurrection.

He said in the span of one short week, the Holy Week, we have seen how fickle the human heart is. The same crowd who greeted Jesus on Palm Sunday clamored for his crucifixion on Good Friday. Likewise, we Catholics are notorious for our post-Mass bad behavior (a classic example of parking lot impatience came to mind). It is as if we hailed Jesus as Savior at Mass and cried for his crucifixion thereafter through our words, thoughts, deeds and the lack of actions.

Not to despair however. We Catholics believe in faith and good works. Fr. JJ went on to compare the sins of Judas and St. Peter. One hanged himself—"better for him not to have been born", and the other one went on to become the Rock upon which His Church stands. They both betrayed Jesus: Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, and Peter denied Him three times before the cock crowed. Yet their paths differed: one went into despair, and the other one found forgiveness.

It is all too easy to think that our sins are so great that we could not possibly be forgiven and fall into despair. I'm still struggling with my own sin— that it nearly blinded to another sin I committed in the process—pride. It is highly arrogant for me to think and assume that my sin is greater than the mercy and forgiveness extended to me. It places myself at the center of focus while it should have been God in the center of things and we His creations singing his praise and glory as we contemplate upon His face.

This Holy Week I am going to meditate upon the magnitude of His Mercy further; to finish Lent in a good race.

+JMJ+ Ora pro nobis.

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