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Peter and Judas

“What kind of idiot gets out of a boat in the middle of the sea?”

A few days ago the famous Bible story about how Jesus walked on water and Peter wanted to try it too came to my mind. Peter was one of those bold risk takers and as a result he often got into trouble. Either he was putting his foot in his mouth (I think he was the only Apostle to ever be called “Satan” to his face) or he was doing crazy things. Crazy things like walking on water.

Only, once he was out of the boat it must have occurred to him that walking on water is not something normal people do and he started sinking.

I love how whenever Peter got in trouble, He always came back to Jesus. When he started sinking, he asked Jesus to save him. After the incident where Jesus called him “Satan,” he didn't get so offended that he left for good. He kept hanging out with Jesus. When he denied that he even knew Jesus out of fear, he went off and wept bitterly but was back with the other disciples in time to encounter the Resurrected Jesus. In contrast, Judas the betrayer committed suicide.

When I get in trouble I think I'm often more like Judas than Peter. I'm way too embarrassed to cry out to Jesus to save me. After all, what kind of idiot has the failings I have? What kind of idiot gets into the kind of trouble I find myself in now?

I'm sure Peter must have heard those condemning voices too, as did Judas. The difference was that Peter didn't let them prevent him from crying out to Jesus. He must have known even before receiving the Holy Spirit that Jesus loved him unconditionally, that Jesus would be there for him even when he couldn't be there for Jesus. He must have known on some level that there was nothing he could do that was so bad Jesus couldn't redeem it.

Judas did not have that understanding and when he committed the sin he assumed was beyond Jesus' redemptive reach he gave in to despair and took his life.

Like Peter I do have that understanding that Jesus can–already has–redeemed all my failings. But like Judas it is so hard to let Him even start.

What kind of idiot… Peter didn't let his sense of shame keep him from the one he loved. I don't have to either.

Catholicism


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