In today’s gospel, we read of the impending betrayal from Judas and denial from Peter – two of Jesus’ closest friends. Prior to sharing this news, “Jesus was deeply troubled.” This struck me. I have many “Judas moments” where my actions betrayed Jesus, but have I ever noticed how this deeply troubled Him? Why would He be deeply troubled? Shouldn’t I be the one who felt remorse and whose heart was troubled?
I believe Jesus feels this way because He loves Judas so much; after all, He did choose him as one of the twelve whom He trusted. Just as Jesus chose and loved Judas, He chooses and loves me, even when I betray him. How compassionate God is to show us his hurting heart when someone he loves dearly chooses to turn against Him.
Jesus shares with Judas and Peter what He knows, but He does not give them a lecture or take away their free will. Instead, He shows compassion and mercy by allowing them to choose freely to love Him back. Even when they do not choose love, Jesus does not abandon them.
God loves us as the imperfect beings we are. The next time I am full of self-doubt, struggle with my own temptations, and wrestle with my need to control, I am invited to imagine Jesus’ hurting heart because of his consistent free offer of abundant love for me. It calls me to focus on the deep, personal love that Jesus has for me despite my shortcomings and failures to recognize Him.
Jesus, help us to see moments when you have not abandoned us, even though we may choose to turn against you. Show us your compassionate troubled heart so that we may become more aware of your deep abiding love for us.
As we approach the Triduum, how might we be called to become more aware of Jesus’ faithful love for us, even as imperfect as we are?