‘Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.’ Imagine Jesus saying that. It would be better for that man if he had never been born. I was talking to some friends, some priests, actually, about this line. And we were talking about that phrase. It would be better if we had never been born, and we each shared a time in our lives where we felt that or thought that about ourselves. That it would be better for us if we had never been born. I think about that. Those priests would even experience that sometime in their life where they had that feeling of despair. And perhaps you have felt that at some time in your life. Perhaps sometimes you have thought to God, why did you even bring me into this world to suffer so much? Maybe you’re even going through something like that now in your life.
The only sin that is the unforgivable sin we hear in Scripture is the sin of despair, which is a sin against the Holy Spirit. And what Jesus is inviting us to do during this Holy Week is to remain with Him. So that no matter what we’re going through in our lives, if we remain with Him, He will take us through it. Judas, after the betrayal of Jesus, tried to make things right in his own way. So, he took his coins back to the temple, and he said I could not accept this, and he gave it back to them and then he left and went and he hung himself. He didn’t return to Jesus. He tried to make things right on his own and instead of going to Jesus and letting Jesus make things right for him.
Anytime that we sin, we betray God. And if you think about this season of Lent, at the beginning of Lent, we were called to make three resolutions: to pray, to fast, and to give alms. I just want you to think about that. Have you done that perfectly during the season of Lent? Or have we betrayed God in failing to keep our resolutions? Chances are we have fallen in some way. Chances are we have sinned during the season of Lent. As we enter into this Holy Week, Jesus gives us that same invitation to remain with Him. What I mean by that is when we find ourselves struggling with God and sin, when we find ourselves betraying God, the tendency is to try to fix it on our own, to try to get things right by ourselves. And the tendency can even be to despair.
So, we learned from Peter that he returned to the Lord as opposed to trying to fix things on his own. He returned to Jesus. So, during this Holy Week, let us take this invitation from our Lord very seriously. To remain with him. This is a wonderful week that is called to be a retreat for the church. And so, I invite you to really make this week a retreat. Renew those resolutions that you made of prayer, fasting, and giving. If you didn’t make a resolution, do so this week, and find some concrete way to increase your prayer. Intentionally fasted, meaning not eating, for some of this week. Do some fasting and increase our almsgiving to the church or to the poor. So that we can remain with Him.
When we try to fix our sins by ourselves, that leads to despair because it’s futile. We can’t do it. Jesus comes to forgive us of our sins. Jesus invites us to remain with Him. And so let this be a truly Holy Week: where we renew our practices of praying, fasting, and almsgiving, where we come to Him for the forgiveness of our sins, and where we remain with Him. So that we may not despair but experience His wonderful mercy that leads to the resurrection.