We All Can Be Redeemed, Never Lose Hope
During a homily, a priest reflected on Jesus and his relationship with his Apostles. Father asked us why we think Jesus called Judas friend even as Judas was betraying him with a kiss? (Matthew 26:50) He answered that it is because Jesus, who is God, never changes. Jesus was a friend to Judas and Father said nothing Judas or we do changes who Jesus is to us.
At first, Father’s words brought great consolation but as I reflected on it deeper, it became a conviction. I pondered, ‘So Jesus is my friend no matter what, which is wonderful, but it says nothing about who I am to Him. I may receive many blessings from God, but that does not assure my holiness. I receive blessings because God is good, not because I am.’ This reality frightened me!
What are we to do when we face the reality of who we are?
Judas chose to turn from Jesus and into isolation leaving him wide open for despair to hunt him down.
What do you think would have happened, if instead, he joined his brother Apostles?
He would have found all but one, trembling together in fear, far away from their Lord and feeling as guilty as him. In Peter, he would have seen the eyes of the denier of Jesus looking back. Judas would have discovered he is not alone, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) as, St. Paul, another great sinner turned saint would soon discover.
And . . . like his brother Apostles, would have encountered the Resurrected Jesus and witnessed the extremes that Mercy wills to go to forgive and redeem.
No Matter What, Turn To Jesus Our Forever Friend
Judas teaches me what not to do! In Judas we see how hope dies when we turn from God and others, and this isolation makes us vulnerable to despair.
In Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis teaches us about the joy of living as a missionary disciple. To be a missionary disciple means we do not need to be perfect to begin anew, nor do we have to ‘know everything’ about our faith before we share it. Our faith calls us to be missionary disciples; women and men who ‘go out’ to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, as we personally allow him to draw us and to perfect us in holiness. A missionary disciple is one who seeks to be a friend of Jesus by turning to Him always and sharing His friendship with others.
At Pilgrim Center of Hope, we have taken this message to the heart of our ministry. We believe that the best way to live this joy of the missionary disciple is through the message of hope; to be a Missionary of Hope.
So many people have lost hope and struggle to find it, or even doubt it exists. So many people have left themselves vulnerable to despair, like Judas, by turning from God.
Pilgrim Center of Hope is responding to the urgent need for hope that we are seeing today, by providing a variety of events, pilgrimages and evangelization outreach opportunities to encounter our friend, Jesus Christ, and to share His love for us to all.
We are in the final phase of building a New Evangelization Center that will provide even more opportunities for people to encounter Christ through multimedia, interactive, educational, and personal experiences.
We invite you to join with us and spread hope! We are staff, prayer intercessors, benefactors and volunteers; a pilgrim people journeying arm-in-arm who, “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer!” (Romans 12:12)