Posted by: fvbcdm | April 3, 2012

Tuesday in Holy Week (3 April 2012)

When I was in high school, the priest who was the president of the school gave us a talk one time which I remember to this day.  He exhorted us to be dependable men whose word could be relied upon and whose judgment would be sound.  He used as an example the fact that when the great American soldier John J. Pershing was graduating from West Point, the commanding officer of the academy wrote in the register of graduates a brief description of each man graduating and being commissioned.  Next to Pershing’s name, he wrote one very important word: DEPENDABLE.  

I speak of this today because we have an example of human fickleness, the opposite of dependability, in the gospel of today’s Mass.  Our Lord is telling Saint Peter that he cannot accompany Jesus then and there, but would do so later.  Peter, woefully unaware of his own weaknesses, says to Our Lord, “Why can’t I follow you NOW?  I will lay down my life for you!”  And the reply of Jesus is much more cautious and sober. “You will lay down your life for me, will you?  I tell you solemnly that this very night, before cockcrow (that is, before early morning), you will have disowned me three times!”


Look into your own life, your own past.  Have you ever promised Our Lord anything that you have not accomplished?  Have you ever said to the Lord “I love you” and then denied by your actions what you declared with your words?  Well, I have, and I suspect that you have, too.  This little exchange of conversation between Jesus and the prince of the apostles at the Last Supper should be for all of us a reminder that we are weak and often foolish, and that one of our weaknesses is that we don’t know ourselves very well. We give ourselves credit for a good deal more virtue, more intelligence, more reliability than we actually deserve.  


That being the case, do we have the right to say to God “I love you”?  Yes, we do. Because we DO love God.  But there are degrees of love and of the other virtues as well. Let’s remember the man whose son was possessed by a demon.  He asked Our Lord to help the boy.  When Jesus asked him, “Do you believe that I can do this?” the man replied very wisely, “Lord, I do believe.  Help my unbelief!”  In mathematical terms, he might have said, “Lord, I believe about 50%; make my faith 100%.”   

So, during this Holy Week, let us allow Saint Peter to warn us not to be too sure of our love, our virtues, our qualities as human being.  Rather, let us remember that there is always room for improvement in our lives and our relationship with Our Divine Lord.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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