One question that is interesting to contemplate is whether or not Jesus knew when he first picked Judas in the very beginning, that Judas would betray him?
Really, the only answer to this question is "yes." God knows everything. God is omniscient, and Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.
When we look at Peter’s denial of Jesus, he denies Jesus three times. Jesus not only predicted Peter’s denial, but even predicts three acts of denial prior to the crowing of the rooster.
Jesus must have had foreknowledge from the very beginning that Judas would betray Him.
Why would Jesus choose Him then?
Now there is a certain amount of mystery here that we have to acknowledge in answering this question. We will never fully understand why God would choose someone like Judas to be one of His twelve apostles.It is part of the Paschal Mystery.
However, it is safe to suggest that Jesus chooses Judas, and Peter, and many other sinners throughout the world, because He loves them, because He loves us. Jesus loves the sinner just as much as he loves the saint. He wants to give everyone opportunities for conversion.
The great Carmelite mystic and doctor of the Church of the 16th century, St. Teresa of Avila, used to pray for Judas’ salvation. She would say that she is just like Judas in how many times that she has betrayed Jesus through her own sinfulness.
There is a great difference though between Peter and Judas. Yes, they both sinned. But we believe traditionally that Peter repented of his sin whereas Judas gave up on God’s mercy, and hung himself.
A couple of things that we should be reflecting on as we enter into the holiest season of the liturgical year, the Triduum:
Do we recognize our own sinfulness? Are we aware of all of the times that we have offended God. This is why it is so good to do a daily examination of conscience. St. Ignatius of Loyola used to say that the most important thing that his brother Jesuits need to do is the nightly examination of conscience.
We act like the Pharisees when we suggest that we do not need to go to confession:
Jn 9:41: "Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, "We see," so your sin remains.'"
2. Do we recognize the infinitely limitless mercy of Jesus Christ? No matter how many sins we have committed, God is just waiting for us to come back to Him. We can all be great saints.
Saints are not men and women that have committed no sins. Saints are men and women that recognize their sinfulness, and also recognize their need for God’s grace and mercy.
Let us pray that we have the courage to not only recognize our own sinfulness, but also recognize and ask for God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness.
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