Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
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In my work with early adolescents over the past 15 years, I have noticed something peculiar about their behavior. It seems that the "communication filters" that operate in adults are completely absent. Seventh and eighth graders will say anything that pop into their heads with little or no regard for the feelings of others. I can remember traveling to a youth event where I was sitting in the back seat of a car with a high school girl and a seventh grade boy seated between us. The girl and I were talking over the boy. For a while the boy was engaged in the conversation looking back and forth as we talked. But soon I noticed that he was staring at the girl's face. Suddenly he blurted out, "You have a moustache!"
I can remember that when I was in seventh grade I suffered from the same condition. I had made friends with this guy named Baines. Baines was shorter than most of us, and he wore glasses. He had thick wavy blonde hair that always seemed to be out of control. We shared some of the same interests, and during free time in school we would make toy cars out of large erasers and thumb tacks. (They slide great across desk and table surfaces. You should try it sometime.) After school he would call me, and we would talk.
The only trouble was that Baines wasn't one of the "cool" people. Neither was I, of course. I mean people who played with erasers and tacks couldn't be too cool. But I still wanted the approval of the "cool" people. One day Baines and I got into this conversation with one of the "cool" girls. Baines ended up saying something that she didn't like and she said, "You're a jerk, Baines." He looked at me with questioning eyes. As if it was just a fact of life, I said, "Yeah, you are a jerk." At first he looked shocked. Then I could see he was hurt. There was nothing I could do to take those words back. I had betrayed our friendship. I had betrayed him.
Who in your past have you betrayed? Whose trust have you shattered through actions and words? Some people believe that they have so betrayed God's love for them because of their horrible actions that they could never become a follower or disciple of Jesus Christ. They are too ashamed. They don't believe God could really love them. The passage I had you read speaks of betrayal. Judas Iscariot would betray Jesus that night by leading his enemies to the place where he prayed. All of the disciples who so adamantly and fiercely proclaimed their loyalty to Jesus even to death would all run like cowards as Jesus was being taken away to face execution. They would all betray Jesus. They would all turn their backs on him.
But did you notice that it was on this same night that Jesus gave his disciples a most precious gift? On the night in which he was betrayed. Just hours before his arrest and suffering at the hands of his enemies and just hours before his followers of the past three years would all run away from him, Jesus gave a great gift of love. Jesus gave them His Supper. Jesus gave them the gift of his body in the bread. Jesus gave them the gift of his blood in the wine. Jesus gave them the gift that would forever strengthen their faith as they remembered that night and the promises Jesus made. Jesus knew what was about to happen. Jesus knew the betrayal about to take place. Yet, still he gave a gift of love. Jesus knew, but still he loved.
Don't you see child of God? There is no betrayal so great that could ever keep God from loving you. There is much in our past we may regret. There is much about ourselves in the present that keeps us awake at night. But it is not enough to keep God in Jesus Christ from loving you. It is not enough to keep precious Jesus from being given and shed for you. For you. For you child of God.