Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Judas, Peter and Simon of Cyrene ~ We've All Been There

During this Holy Week of our beloved Church, I cannot help but think of these three characters and the role they play in our Lord's passion.  Each individual is unique and through their own actions and choices, serve a distinct purpose in the amazing drama Christ is about to undergo.  More importantly, if we examine these three individuals carefully, we see some paradoxes and perhaps various sides of our own personalities or at least situations where sometimes we've acted like Judas, Peter and Simon of Cyrene.

I have to admit that I have always struggled with Judas.  I've posed the question to both religious and lay people, "Well, didn't there have to be a Judas?"  "Didn't Christ have to be handed over?"   "Isn't Judas essential to the paschal mystery?"  Through this struggle of mine, I am beginning to understand that even without Judas, Christ coming to die for us would've occurred, because that was the Father's plan.  It was Judas who had free will and rejected the love of God, a grave sin against the Spirit.  After all, Christ says it would've been better that Judas was not born instead of making this deathly free choice.  Yet, haven't we all rejected the love of God at some point in our lives?  Have we betrayed God by our actions?  Have we betrayed those we love or say we love?  Have we looked out solely for own agenda at the expense of someone else and as a result, caused them pain and suffering?  I would imagine that if we did some serious soul searching, we would have to admit that we can answer "yes" to some, maybe even all of these questions.

Then comes Peter.  Peter who loved Christ so much and swore he would never deny him, fulfills Jesus' prophecy:  “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times" (Matthew 26:34).  Again, haven't we all been Peter?  So on fire and committed to Christ, but when the time of trial set in, we abandoned God and his presence in our lives.  Or, even perhaps in certain circles of friends, colleagues and even certain family members, we water-down our love of Christ so that we don't rock the boat or "offend" anyone.  We deny Christ sometimes to fit-in and even become luke-warm in our faith.  We cast Christ aside when we succumb to sins of the flesh.  We deny him when we say we are Christians, but our actions do not show that.  We are also, Peter and Jesus knows that and still loves us in spite of it.

     Lastly, on Good Friday, we see Simon of Cyrene.  Yes, on the road of Calvary he is told by the Romans to help carry Jesus' cross.  Several things about this are profound, one is that Simon does not try to argue his way out of carrying Jesus' cross.  He does not say he is too busy with this or that, he stops in his tracks and comes to Jesus' aid.  Second, Jesus, Christ himself in his human frailty needed another humans help.  Therefore, if Jesus was not prideful, why are we sometimes in rejecting others help in carrying our crosses?  Jesus truly humbled himself in this moment with Simon.  In this scene we can take on may roles and apply it to our lives and reflect on how we live.  Do I help others carry their crosses?  Am I there for my family, friends, co-workers and strangers or am I too busy?  Do I ask others to help me carry my cross or am I too prideful?

In this holiest week of our dear Church, we get to take part in Passion of Our Lord. It is not a time for us to passively engage in the Triduum.  It is time for us to seriously contemplate the gift Christ gives us everyday, forgiveness, mercy, his life and our salvation.  It is time for us to see ourselves in these three individuals and allow the Resurrection to transform us according to the Lord's will.

Become passionate about the Lord's Passion over the next several days.  Don't let this Holy Week pass you by!

Peace and All Good Things,


  1. Even as a small child, you questioned the role of Judas. I heard the other day on EWTN that Judas sin too, was that he had no humility and rather than humble himself for his crime, he chose to take his own life. (I thought of you when I heard that one)

    Yes, Peter's denial calls us all to conscience on many levels doesn't it?

    And Simon, he stepped out in faith...not because he wanted to help carry the cross. He was called upon and did it, fear filled and all, he helped Jesus.

    Nice reflection, thank you.

  2. Thank you, DG. These three individuals give us a lot to reflection.