Although we only hear Jesus’ prediction of his betrayal by Judas in today’s Gospel, we know that when he went with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, Judas came with the soldiers to betray him.
When Jesus is approached in the garden, he stands steadfast for who he is, faithful to his identity. Jesus fearlessly opens a conversation with them. The way he speaks leaves them fearing and falling down, and he finds himself repeatedly saying to them, “I told you that I am he.” Jesus, at this moment, does not make his own decision but does what the Father in heaven expects him to do.
We might be thinking of ways to run from the situation. Jesus, on the other hand, confronts what is before him and seems to enter into the conversation to the fullest. While this conversation takes place, Jesus seems to show irritation when Simon Peter uses a sword and strikes the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.
Simon Peter takes the situation into his own hands. But Jesus knows what he has to do for his Father. Simon Peter’s action takes me back to our struggles that the Lord is highlighting for us: the question of violence that has gone beyond our thinking. Jesus stops the violence he sees in Simon Peter because he knows that the people who had been sent to kill him would complete what had been written in the Scriptures.
Christians always debate how they should carry the cross of Jesus. When Jesus stops Peter it allows us to enter fully into what it means to be calm and merciful. Jesus knows that he has to carry his cross.
How do we carry our cross? This is not an easy question to ask as it involves one’s being. To engage this question we need to go deep into prayer. How do we choose, and help others choose, a way that does not have violence as its end? Violence is never a solution to protect a leader. Violence can never be used in the name of God.