Saturday, April 6, 2013

Three lives, intertwined, they were confronted with a decision, each had a crossroad, they've crossed them and nothing was ever the same again

They were friends. They've known each other for a good few years. They shared lives, ate meals together, walked the journey together. There were nights where they had no place to stay, there in the wilderness they retired for the night. They were happy, sharing beliefs that gave them courage to stick together and continue the journey of knowing, believing, witnessing and sharing. It must have been such a beautiful friendship I imagine. Wherever they went they shared everything from hunger when food was scares; cold when dwelling was not available. I think the expression "all for one and one for all" was once theirs. Until one night each one of them was confronted with a difficult choice, a decision. Three lives, intertwined with each other yet as faced by a crucial decision, each took a different route, each saw, thought and reasoned differently and there at the crossroad, each chose different path and the rest is a story to tell.

I'm sure we all can relate to these three men.A beautiful friendship, probably now gone. Life goes on, decisions made have changed the path we've trod but still it gives us smile when memories come back or pain when disappointment was the memory we had.

Jesus, Peter and Judas, three good friends. Tradition says Judas was one of the closest friend of Jesus and that is why Jesus trust him to be the steward of the community's resources. They are poor. Judas must have earned the confidence of Jesus to be given such responsibility. Peter is known to all of us Christians by his primacy among Jesus' friends. Jesus see him as the rock where he will build His church. We know the story... Judas betrayed Christ to the Jewish authorities in return for thirty pieces of silver; the Gospels' accounts is silent as to his motives. Peter, "the rock" is there at the garden when Judas gives the kiss of betrayal and with his sword cut the ear of one of the soldiers. Bravery? Wait till he deny Jesus three times right at the moment when the Master needs him to defend him against the elders and priests who are interrogating him. "I don't know the man!" he said.

Jesus knew what was going to happen and it must have cost him so much to know that these two close and trusted friends of him will be the one who will lead him to Calvary. There, at the garden before Judas and Peter's human weaknesses overpowered them, Jesus prayed for strength and courage to do his father's will.

These three men were at the crossroad. Their friendship was put to the test."When we are on a crossroad , what we decide to do determines what comes next." -Jean Shenoda Bolen

Judas, having seen the impact of his betrayal of his Master and friend couldn't forgive himself. Overcome with remorse, he later committed suicide by hanging, and was buried in the potter's field.

Peter as soon as the cock crowed and he saw Jesus  looked at him with love and understanding and without a word. He probably saw the Master's love for him and remembered the words that Jesus'  said " I prayed for you Peter for Satan is asking for you." Peter cried in sorrow and repentance.

Jesus, in his humanity have asked the Father the possibility to let this "night" pass by him yet, he freely submitted himself to the will of his Father " not my will, but thine be done.." and there at the mount of Calvary, he gave up himself for love. "It is is finished...glorify thy name Father, the glory that I had even before time began."

Three men, three destiny - one led to his death; another to hope and Jesus to life.

God is Love. Love is God's name. Judas could have been saved if he only believed of this Love. He knew how serious was his sin and he couldn't believe that there is forgiveness for what he had done. It is said that the only person who cannot win forgiveness is the one who cannot forgive himself. If only he humbled himself and repented, he could have performed miracles just like the other chosen disciples. Jesus repeatedly say, "learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart". Humility and meekness that is all that Jesus is asking those who wishes to follow him. You and I.

Peter the rock, cried, repented and lived in hope. At the end of his life, there in Rome the eternal city where the heart of our faith is deeply founded, he gave up his life for the church. Crucified like his friend and master only he knew he is not worthy to be crucified the same way as Jesus, he asked to be crucified upside down.  Peter at the end of his life has proven that he is the "rock" where Jesus built his church.

Jesus in accepting God's will suffered everything in his humanity and in the end endured being deprived of any consolation from anybody including God the Father yet, he trusted God and drank the cup that was handed to him. Three days later, he came back, resurrected from the dead, lived forever.

 One died... another lived... and Jesus, glorified.

Do you see the difference of the decisions they made and how their decisions affected one another? Three lives, three decisions and nothing was ever the same after that night.

"Do you love me Peter?" Jesus asked the repentant pillar of the church.
"You know everything, you know that I love you." Peter replied to the Risen Christ.

If love, pure love, unselfish love, self-forgetful love for the good of another is the foundation of every man's decision, my guess is that we shall always know which road to take when we are heading
towards our own crossroads. Only love saves. God did not need man when He created the world, yet he needed Jesus to become man in order to save us. His love for us knows no boundary.

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