Today’s Gospel from John is of Jesus and his friends at the Last Supper. In today’s segment, Jesus predicts both Judas’ betrayal of him and Peter’s denial of him.
As I read the passage, I was reminded of a reflection offered on Palm Sunday as part of the UST Lent Reflection Series by Robert Kennedy, Professor and Chair of UST’s Catholic Studies Department. He observed that the “principal actors” in the story of Jesus’ passion “all act out of very human motives, or perhaps one ought to say human weaknesses. These weaknesses are envy, fear and distrust.”
Speaking of Judas and Peter, Professor Kennedy wrote
Judas certainly did not trust, did not have faith in, Jesus. Regardless of what he had witnessed, he doubted the faithfulness and power of God and took things into his own hands. And Peter, who had more reason than anyone to have faith, was overcome by fear and adamant in his distrust.
How characteristic these weaknesses are, not only of these men, but of all of us. How many of us would act differently if we had been in their places? Envy, fear and distrust are such common drivers of human failing. But the story of Jesus’ Passion and death is, among other things, the story of his humility, his courage and his ultimate confidence in the wisdom and power of God. The real remedy for these weaknesses and not a bad lesson for us.
You can read the entirety of Professor Kennedy’s reflection here.