Peter and Judas

Clergy Corner by Fr. Williams

Many times in the year we see a side-by-side view of Peter and Judas and one wonders how could their reactions have been so different? One asks forgiveness and the other doesn’t. We hear Jesus calling Judas out before he even betrays him, saying “it would have been better for you if you were never to have been born.” His decision is one that carries something much heavier and more serious. Jesus calls Peter out ahead of time too saying “Strengthen the brethren when you turn back.” He knows something is different with Peter.


Judas’ decision is one that is premeditated, spiteful, looking to destroy another, while also for temporal and personal gain. Peter’s denial is not premeditated, not spiteful against Jesus. He wasn’t looking for his destruction. Peter offends the Lord out of his own fear, and his reaction is immediate and sorrowful. Judas, on the other hand, had been stealing for a while and plotting for even more personal gain. Think about it! If he is the money keeper and the apostles are disbanded and Jesus is killed, there is more at stake than just 30 pieces of silver.


We see the difference in the gravity of Judas and Peter’s actions, but why are their reactions so different? What keeps Peter in this that doesn’t have the same hold with Judas? I’d say the answer is relationship. Peter was Jesus’ friend and biggest fan, his protector, a man with a servant’s heart. Peter loved Jesus. You don’t premeditate the destruction of someone you genuinely love. But when you do mess up in that relationship, you feel terrible and look for ways to make it up. Peter, do you love me? Yes, Lord, … Peter, do you love me? Yes, Lord, … Peter do you love me? Lord, you know everything ... Stop asking me that! Judas’ relationship, however, was short-lived, he didn’t have that bond to keep him grounded and so he turned away when he found something he loved more.


That’s why we have to come to know Jesus. We know him through the sacraments, through people, through service, through prayer. That is what keeps us in the game. If “Catholic” is just a title, an affiliation, a cultural inheritance or a name, then it won’t last! Allow the fullness of truth to work in your life through all the Church offers, and you’ll see all kinds of wonders happen.


So, take time to get to know him and you’ll feel that bond grow moment by moment, day by day, year after year.


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