12 April, Tuesday – Examining Our Faith and Not the Faith of Others

Tuesday of Holy Week

Is 49:1-6

Jn 13:21-33,36-38

“I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’…

Throughout the Bible, our Lord had often spoken of his own suffering and death, without such trouble of spirit as he foretold about Judas’ betrayal. The issues that troubled Jesus were not so much about his impending crucifixion, but the betrayal of a professed friend; someone who ate and drank at the same table and followed him closely in the years of his ministry.

The sins of Christians are the grief of Christ. Though we tend to confine our attention to Judas, the prophecy of Judas’ treachery may well apply to us during our lifetimes. Every single day, we partake of God’s mercies but often meet them with ingratitude. For many of us reading the scripture passage today, it might seem odd that none of the disciples could guess who Jesus was referring to, even though it was prophesied clearly by the Lord that the traitor will be the one who received the morsel from Him. This however, did not compel Judas under any fatal necessity of committing the sin here spoken of by Jesus; for even though the betrayal occurred according to prediction, it would have happened anyway if no such prediction was uttered. Ridiculous as it seems, the disciples probably did not grasp Jesus’ message entirely as they were preoccupied with seeking out the betrayer. While our Lord was mentioning “one of you will betray me”, he might in fact, be leading them all to seriously examine themselves. Nonetheless, the disciples were engrossed in looking at one another, studiously observing each other’s countenance in a bid to pick up any signs of peculiarity which might be an indication of guilt. While Judas’ betrayal was a grave sin, his denial of Christ wasn’t uniquely different from the other disciples. The passage today ended by Jesus’ revelation of Peter’s denial and perhaps was His imploration to all of them to reflect on themselves, instead of finding fault with others.

The gospel passage today reminds us of our propensity to sin and an equally high probability to be deceived. As we read in Galatians 6:3-5, “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” It is not enough to simply profess our faith, but equally important to ensure whether our works, deeds and actions are in agreement with Christ’s teachings. In order to engage in a proper examination of conscience, we need to engage the help of God; lest we all end up examining ourselves based on our own yardsticks. Notably, we must not examine ourselves using others as a standard. By belittling others to make ourselves feel better isn’t true self-examination.

Christ intends for us to discover the reality of our sinful nature. Of course, it is impossible to fathom it entirely, but we can, and must, come to grips with the potential pitfalls and evils that exist in every one of us. Regular self-examination enables us to measure the extent that we have overcome the evil in us, and the sincerity of our commitment to our relationship with Jesus. As we count down the last few days of Holy Week towards Easter Sunday, let us prepare ourselves for the glorious resurrection of our Lord and rededicate our promise to follow his commandments, and to live out our earthly lives in a diligent manner.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, restrain our thoughts so that they do not wander amid the vanities of this world. Help us to be sensitive to your holiness, that we may indeed by aware of our vileness and come before You in humility and confession. Amen.     

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for uniting us to the affection of your love, in spite of our utter unworthiness. Thank you for sowing the seeds of humility in us and granting endless mercy and compassion.

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