“Will you lay down your life for me?”

Yesterday’s reading continued in John, but jumped to the very end of chapter 13 (21-33, 36-38) with the Last Supper already begun.  It starts with Jesus prediction of the betrayal by one of the Twelve.  Jesus confides in John (through Peter’s prompting) who the betrayer is.  Judas then quickly leaves.  Jesus then speaks of His glorification, tells them He will be leaving them soon, and says they cannot follow immediately.  Peter insists he would die for Jesus, but Jesus responds with the prediction of Peter’s three-fold denial.  Jesus’ response to Peter begins with the words at the head of this post.  It is a question for us today as it has been for all ages.  Now certainly there was more of a threat of red martyrdom (forfeiting one’s life for the faith) in the earliest centuries of Christianity than we in the West have today.  But what sort of white martyrdom (suffering for the faith) are we willing to endure for Christ?  Might it be little barbs for expressing that faith openly in the manner in which one lives and interacts?  Ridicule for not going along with the crowd in gossip, cheating, or some other morally dubious or plainly immoral behavior?  What about declaring one’s conviction to the masses via an op/ed piece, response to the same, or social media?  Are we prepared for the vitriol that can come with such an exposition?  When we do these things with love in order to live our faith properly, correct misconceptions, or for the purposes of fraternal correction, we are acting appropriately.  Let us not be like Peter who denied Jesus in the face of extreme adversity (surely he felt personally threatened) but rather let us be like the Peter of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36) who boldly proclaimed Christ unceasingly for the rest of his life.  We must ask for the same Spirit that moved him to move us.

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