The Brazilian soccer star Pele was a household name known by young and old alike. He could name his price for endorsements of commercial products. But there is one thing he would never endorse – cigarettes. He could have made a fortune endorsing them but he refused. Why? He explained, “I love kids.” He did not want to do anything that would be harmful or detrimental to children and young people. Out of love, he was committed to his principles and he maintained them.
As we remember the last days of Jesus’ life, we might imagine Jesus being asked why he didn’t run, flee, fight back, defend himself, or soften his message. And perhaps his response would be simple: “I love the world.” Because of love, he remained committed and would not sacrifice his principles, his values, his morals, or his trust in God. He would rather give up his life than give up his trust in God and his message of good news for all people.
As we think about Judas’ betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, Peter denying Jesus, and the other male disciples scattering and hiding this is a time to ask ourseves what compromises are we making? How are we denying and betraying our love for the world? Can others count on us to love: To do what is in their best interests, to not harm them in any way? Can the very creation count on our pure, undivided devotion and love? We should also examine how are we staying true to our beliefs and our commitment to love.
Prayer: Jesus was true to God. His love for the world was pure. We pray for divine love to fill us and to wash away all the distractions and diversions that dilute our loving. We pray to love fully, robustly, and joyfully! No holding back. No turning back. That is the way of Jesus. That is the way of life. Amen.