15 April 2014

Malice Aforethought

"Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And so Judas Iscariot did.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times." And so Simon Peter did.

What was different between Peter and Judas? Judas deliberately betrayed the Lord. Peter, in a moment of weakness and cowardice, denied Him.

Most of us would see the difference between hurting someone because of carelessness or thoughtlessness, as opposed to plotting something behind someone’s back, actually planning to do something hurtful, or even to trying get revenge on someone.

Certainly in both cases, someone ends up being hurt. But isn’t it preferable to be like Peter, who never meant to do what he did, who acted impulsively but who was able to repent; rather than carrying out purposeful treachery and betrayal, as Judas did? The Gospel tells us that Jesus had even given a special sign affection to Judas that night, but it was then that Judas fully cooperated with Satan, leaving the Upper Room and going off to pursue the evil act he had been planning.

Satan does things like that. If the devil can plant cruelty and hatred in us, it allows him to ruin lives and twist us into doing hurtful things. Tomorrow is Spy Wednesday. It’s a reminder that we have to be on our guard lest Satan turn us from the love of God and from the path which God has chosen for us, and send us off into things which are bad for us - paths which can destroy relationships and which bring hurt and unhappiness into our lives and the lives of others. Peter repented, and went on to serve Christ as the greatest of the apostles and the Rock on which the Church was built; whereas Judas saw the mess he had made, gave in to despair, and hanged himself.

It's not a very difficult choice for us to make...is it?