Have you wondered how both Judas and Peter fared at the last hour? Did you notice that both sinned against Our Lord; Judas selling His master for 30 silver and betraying Him with a kiss, Peter on the other side denied he knew not ‘the man.’
To Peter Christ was just a man, but to Judas he recognizes Him still as his master. One would be moved to think that although both of them sinned, Peter’s was the heavier one being that he wasn’t just the newly appointed head of the Church, His flock, but because rather he had promised earlier and professed his love for his master as ‘he would die with Him.’ But in any case both of them sinned against our Lord and thereby wounded His heart of love. But let us take a look at how these two reacted to their sin in Matthew’s Gospel in the 27th chapter beginning from verse 1. The Good book tells us that Judas was sorry for he knew he had sinned and so he first of all sought restitution by returning the money he collected. Notice now that prior to this, Judas had failed twice: first by collecting money from the Pharisees to surrender his Master,
Secondly, by sealing the betrayal with a KISS. Peter on the other hand had denied his Master three times of which Christ foretold. Now both were sorry for their sins for they acknowledged they had tresspassed. For repentance to be complete there must be a recognition of fault…(the sinner must admit he has sinned). Secondly there must be a heart of sorrow..(I.e to say, a sign that he is truly sorry for his sins) and finally, the sinner must confess truly with total regret and a promise never to go back to his sin. These were the talking points in the case of Peter and Judas. Peter immediately sought repentance and is evident as the writer says ‘he cried bitterly.’ The stress in his action seemed to show a true contrition of Peter and a heart of sorrow, one which was open to confession. But in Judas’ case, although Matthew tells he was sorry and sought restitution, remember he had committed two faults, he rightly went back to the Pharisees and returned the ‘blood money’ as it was called. This was the first step he took. Now remember that by collecting the bribe, Judas atoned it by returning it back. But he had killed God with a kiss and just as he needed to atone for that, he was supposed to allow the Master welcome him back with a kiss of love.
Although Judas must have been heavily burdened with his sin, and guilt must have blinded his heart from seeking forgiveness, Judas probably taught he was doomed and could never get this mercy as he had not just sold his Master, he had killed God. He masterminded the killing and as such he was a killer. But Judas was faithless to have forgotten the words of his Master: ‘come all you who are heavily Laden and I’ll give you rest.’ Peter surely must have remembered when he asked: ‘master, how many times shall we forgive our brother who sins against us, seven times?’ He knew all he had to do was CONFESS. Judas allowing the devil not only use him to betray his Master, but to harden his heart so that he’d not sought forgiveness and believe he was beyond pardon. This was what Christ warned about sinning against the Holy Spirit. And by rejecting grace, Judas condemned himself even when God would never have. He rejected and resisted forgiveness and so he couldn’t get mercy. The difference between Peter and Judas is that; Peter focused more on the person he had failed, on the heart he had wounded; Judas whereas focused on the severity of his sin, he looked so much more on the consequence of his wrong doing and so he was blinded to confession. Peter was fully repentant, Judas was only remorseful.
And this brings us to the today’s homily and solemnity. The Divine Mercy of God. God has overtime professed and proved His unending Love and bountiful Mercy and becoming like us was just incredibly unimaginable. Dying for us was the ultimate proof of that love. And so we must all be confident in approaching His throne of mercy, we must always trust in His love so that we don’t lose sight of Him and become hardened just like Judas. There’s no sin God doesn’t forgive and just as His death cleared all debt and sin, we must remember His very words to His disciples.
‘take heart and do not fear, for I’ve conquered the world.’
Peace be with you!