Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” – John 13:36-38
To lay down one’s life for the sake of one loved. I would certainly do so for the sake of my wife and children. I think I would do so for the sake of an innocent one under attack. But how many more? I confess probably less than I would hope, yet Christ did it for all our sakes.
But I sense that Christ was challenging Peter to lay down less dramatic aspect of his life. I suspect tucked within that question were matters such as … will you lay down your pride for my sake? Or … will you lay down your arrogance for my sake? Or … will you sacrifice your livelihood as a fisherman for my sake? And then by extension to each of us … will you lay down your life’s prejudices and preconceived notions for my sake? Will you lay down your worldly ambitions for well and prestige for my sake? Will you lay down your judgmental attitudes and your self-defined righteousness for my sake? Will you lay down your reluctance to serve and your resistance to transformation for my sake? Will you lay down your hatred and indifference for my sake? Will you lay down your loyalties to worldly powers and to worldly ideologies for my sake?
Like Peter, we are mortal. But also like Peter, we can recover to be about the work of sacrificial love for the sake of Christ and those whom He loved. We must remember that on that night in Jerusalem Peter denied knowing Christ three times for fear of losing his life. Yet … there would come a day … when Peter did exactly that … He gave His life in His work of Holy Love.
Now and then, when in the midst of serious self-examen I picture Christ looking to my eyes and asking that question He asked of Peter …”Fr. Charitas, will you lay down your life for my sake? Will you lay down certain aspects of your life for me?”
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz