The holiest week of the year has begun.
In today’s gospel, Jesus predicts Peter’s denial. The apostles are gathered with Jesus at an intimate dinner and after Peter declares he won't hesitate to die for Jesus, Jesus tells Peter,
“Not so fast, before the rooster crows three times, you will have denied our friendship, denied even knowing me...not once, but three times.”
On Sunday, all of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus on a donkey—triumphant and celebratory—and today, Judas’s evil plan of betrayal has been set into motion. On Friday, we will be staring down the suffering of Christ on the cross.
This is the time of Lent where I always take an inventory.
How did I do with my fasts?
Did I succeed in abstaining from those things I pledged to give up at the beginning of Lent?
Did I throw in the towel? Get overwhelmed by all the things I originally pledged to God and then quickly took back in a moment of temptation?
What worked and what didn’t?
And if I’m not careful, this inventory becomes all about me…my spiritual aptitude or lack thereof and I completely forget that entire point of the sacrificial offering, which is to remind me of my acute need for a God who saves.
Jesus doesn’t need my sacrifice.
He doesn’t need my Lenten offerings.
He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. It doesn’t matter if I successfully abstained from all I promised (though you can bet fasting does leave me more space for Him in my life.)
What Jesus does need is a friend to accompany him during the Triduum, a friend to keep watch with him while he is in Gethsemane. He needs someone to walk alongside him on the way to the crucifixion, someone to be with him in his suffering.
Isn’t this what we all want when life drowns us in sorrow and pain?
Did you fail at your Lenten observances? Move on.
Don’t spend time beating yourself up and bemoaning your failures. Fix your eyes on Christ and be prepared to walk with him over the next few days.
Be a true friend to Jesus--one who doesn’t deny him three times—but who sits at the foot of the cross while the greatest suffering and drama in all of history unfolds.