Herod was Also Pro-Choice


By all accounts, Herod was a monster. Although no Caligula, he could commit atrocities with the worst of them.  Historians cite the murder of 45 opponents upon assuming his throne, a brother-in-law, the second of his ten wives, and three of his own sons!  According to many scholars, Herod likely suffered from some form of Paranoid Personality Disorder, and he clearly had no qualms about murdering those he found inconvenient or even threatening to his pathetic grasp of power and influence.

While a number of scholars question the historical veracity of the slaughter of the innocents by Herod, and partly base this on the absence of clear, hard historical evidence, many others find numerous plausible explanations for this lack of evidence.  Josephus, a famous historical writer of the time, did not record the slaughter, either because he was not aware of it, or because his main information source was a good friend of Herod or, tragically, because the murder of innocent infants in that period at that location paled in comparison to other atrocities committed by Herod and others.  Furthermore, Josephus wrote for a Greco-Roman audience for whom infanticide was no particular horror. Sadly, both Greeks and Romans practiced infanticide as a form of birth control, and if they were unconcerned with the murder of their own infants, the deaths of young from a conquered land would have been even less significant to say the least.

Simply put, while there is no hard, historical evidence of the slaughter of innocents in Bethlehem around the birth of Our Lord, all known historical evidence indicates that Herod murdering infants out of some paranoid fear that these innocents were a threat to his way of life is no more unusual than expecting that he ate regularly and had little respect for the institution of marriage.

To add to the “insignificance” of this atrocity in the context of that time, there is debate as to the actual number of innocent children murdered that day.  While many writers estimate the number as anywhere from 3,000 to 64,000 innocent children, Professor William F. Albright, a leading  American Holy Land scholar, estimates that the population of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth was about 300 people and, based on that figure, scholars estimate the number of  males two years old or younger to be about six or seven.  Certainly the murder of even one innocent child is one too many, but one can understand that such a relatively low number would futher allow those who would downplay such an atrocity to ignore this barbaric act. Given these points, one can argue that, even if Josephus knew of the murder of Bethlehem’s innocents, he would have considered the event trivial in comparison to the winds and beliefs of the times.

When a government deems innocent human life as being disposable, justifiable and, perhaps most important, insignificant, it is short step to infanticide for increasingly superficial and trivial reasons.  Between his insecurities and paranoid nature, Herod often saw murder as the convenient way out of many difficulties.  Such a perception would only be supported and intensified by the times in which he lived.  When a society allows itself to sink deeper into evil and sin, it becomes desensitized to an increasingly sanitized, rationalized, and delusional selfishness.

Herod was pro-choice because his society was pro-choice, not according to the desires of the  majority of the population but, rather, according to the whims and facades of those in power.  Such pro-choice is always based on the choice of the more powerful or influential over the weaker, less influential with the  least voice in society.

If one extrapolates the 6 or 7 murdered innocents in a town of 300 out to the present U.S. population of 300 million or so, the slaughter of the Bethlehem innocents then would be the equivalent of murdering 6,000 to 7,000 infants in the U.S. today in one day, which is nearly twice the 3,700 children murdered daily in the U.S. by abortion.  No matter how one views this barbaric act by this monster, it was most certainly an atrocity of the highest order.  

Although abortion defenders argue that rape and the health of the mother are critical reasons for keeping abortion legal, statistics show that only 1% of women have abortions due to rape and only 6% have abortions for health reasons, with 93% having abortions for “social” reasons (unwanted or inconvenient child).  While many such defenders argue that abortion should be a legal solution for women already “burdened” by other children and heavy family responsibilities, statistics show that nearly two-thirds of abortions involve never-married women. In fact, statistics show that most abortions are obtained by either middle-class white women as a convenient end to an unwanted or inconvenient pregnancy out of wedlock or by poor, minority women out of desperation and/or confusion and fear, with most abortions being sought by the former group.

Abortions in this country are nothing more than legalized erasers by which women can eliminate inconvenient, perceived threats to their way of life resulting from negligent immorality.  History shows that Herod was simply one of many historical monsters who saw murder as nothing more than an eraser by which he could eliminate inconvenient, perceived threats to his way of life resultilng from immoral rule.

We claim to be such a developed, enlightened society but, as history shows, so-called enlightened and progressive societies have long considered innocent life including infant innocent life as nothing more than a dispensible, disposable commodity. Let history show that those societies which see innocent life as collateral damage on the road to temporal pleasures will themselves become collateral damage to the predictable cycle of ultimate justice.

Copyright, 2011  Gabriel Garnica

The Visitation as a Double Cry Against Abortion


The visitation of Our Blessed Mother to Her cousin Elizabeth is recounted in Luke 1:39-57 and stands as a powerful, double cry against abortion.  Proponents of this heinous and barbaric act pretend that the unborn child is anything but human, but the humanity of a fetus is front and center in this beautiful narrative.  First, we are told that the child within Elizabeth, St. John the Baptist, lept in joy upon feeling the presence of His Divine Savior who, according to many scholars, may have been conceived 10 days before. Likewise, Elizabeth refers to that child within Mary’s womb as “my Lord”, thereby indicating that, despite the fact that this unborn Child had just been conceived, said Child was already our Lord.

So, in effect, we have two unborn children being represented as human. One, our Savior, was already being referred to as “Lord”, and the other, John the Baptist, was reacting to the Presence of his Lord and Savior.

Anyone who has ever seen a sonagram knows that a fetus is human. Those whose agenda lies in defending the vile act of abortion go on and on about how the fetus is not human, but accompany these claims with every effort to hide evidence which indicates just the opposite. 

Abortion is genocide.  It is a holocaust against innocent life.   Abortion is infanticide.   It is arrogant  greed and hypocrisy using distortion and lies to manipulate fear and confusion at the expense of innocent blood.  Many may argue the relative ranking of evil but, from my perspective, one’s defense, rationalization, support, or even condoning of abortion is a litmus test for qualification to argue against any other evil.  Can one seriously, for example, listen to an abortionist argue that it is a sin to lie?

The Visitation, then, stands as a simple, beautiful, moving, and subtle yet clear reminder that a fetus is every bit a child of God who deserves to live as much as any of us do.  It is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy to ask or demand any right or privilege while denying this most innocent life the right to live simply because one is  somehow inconvenienced in some way by its birth. The blood of these innocents is on the hands of those who perform this vile procedure as well as any of dismiss innocent life as some disposable commodity!

Copyright, 2011 Gabriel Garnica

Your Soul is Not Big Enough For Two Messiahs


At this time of  year we often hear much talk about our Messiah, but my question to you now is “Who is your messiah?”  You may answer that it is Christ, and that is a noble and positive response, but is Christ really your Messiah?  Do your thoughts, beliefs, actions, priorities, perceptions, and general approach to your life correspond with having Christ as your Messiah?  A messiah is defined as “a deliverer” or one who will free us from some sort of bondage or trouble.  Who do you look to when you are in trouble?  Do you see Christ as your way out of difficulty?  Better yet, how do you see Him as your way out?  How you answer these questions has much to reveal about how many messiahs you really have.

In the old days, families tended to be larger, with many kids learning to grow up together and how to cooperate, be unselfish, and be grateful for what they had.  Parents could not spoil anybody, even if they wanted to, because they had to spread the love more efficiently and profoundly than they do today.   There are only so many hours in the day and days in the year, and parents had to make the most of that time as effectively as possible.

Today, families tend to be smaller, with much less kids.  In fact, many kids are only children and therefore the unfortunate recipients of absurd attention and focus.  If you are treated like a prince or princess, you start believing that you are it, the center of it all, and you become spoiled.  Somewhere along the line, you start to see things through only  your eyes. If something fits your perception of things, that is truth. If something does not jive with the way you see or experience things, it is wrong and to be avoided.

Furthermore, your agenda becomes the transcendent factor in determining everything.  If something gets in the way of your plans and self-view, it is wrong or f oolish and deserves to be at least ignored and, if possible, mocked.  If, on the other hand, that something fits your way of see or doing things, that activity is “normal” and acceptable.  

This is why many people do not like Christianity in general and, in many cases, Catholicism in particular.  They see it as all about out-dated, even ancient, rules and regulations coupled with judgments and narrow-minded ways of looking at things.  This is because these people, whether they realize it or not, cannot conceive of subordinating themselves and their wants to any higher power at all.  This is why what matters is what offends them and, for that matter, anything that offends them should be removed, not because of some rational or historically sound argument but, rather, simply because it “offends” them.  These people have become, in fact, their own messiahs. They see themselves as the answers to their own prayers. Not used to having to sacrifice, compromise, or subordinate their individual needs and wants to anything, these people refuse to do so and simply look for “thoughtful” ways around this dilemma. 

They see receiving as more important than giving, and value gifts in material,  rather than spiritual, terms.  They find no room at the Inn because their head does not fit through the door!

King Herod was his own messiah as shown by his internal, self-focused attention.  Murdering innocent infants was acceptable because it was convenient, practical, and a seemingly logical “solution”  to  his problem, regardless of how it affected others.  The shepherds and Wise Men, on the other hand, were not their own messiahs but, rather, looked to the True Messiah as their focus of attention. They were not bringing their presence or gifts out of some calculated networking effort.  It must have been inconvenient and difficult to go out of their usual comfort zone to adore a shivering infant but, as people who look externally for their messiah often do, these people looked for something or someone greater than themselves as worthy of their worship, praise, and focus.

So, we must abandon the foolish notion that we are our own messiahs or, for that matter, the equally superficial view that we should only run to God when we think we need Him, for these so-called strategies are brimming with the false ideas that we are our own answer or that God is plan B or a convenient fallback option.  If you really believe that God is all that matters, and that Christ is your Messiah, God is the only option!

Above and beyond the shepherds and Magi, however, why not look at how The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph put their comfort and convenience aside to follow the Will of God and rightly focus on the only Messiah any of us really needs.  In a word, make sure that you see the Star of Bethlehem above the manger rather than in the mirror!

Copyright, 2011   Gabriel Garnica

We Have Never Left That Silent Night


Two millennia and very little has changed. The darkness still remains, even encompasses the world, but those who recognize the Light know the Way, the Truth and the Life. “Correggio’s famous chiaroscuro La Notte painting of The Nativity leaves all shadow except the infant Jesus and His mother, Mary. Even her face is illuminated only by the light that comes from Him. It makes little sense to see our existence in any way other than this simple yet profound image. He is truly the Light which pierces the darkness of this world as He pierced the darkness of that town so long ago. Amid the sin, the distortion, the deception, the hypocrisy, the selfishness, the hate, He alone brought clarity and truth. Amid the blindness, deafness, and muted souls, He alone brought vision, sound, and voice to the Way of Salvation. If we honor His Blessed Mother, we do so in His light. If we aspire to salvation, it is only through His direction. If we find our God, it is through His brilliance. If we awaken to a new life, it is only through His dawn. No, nothing has changed since that night in Bethlehem so long ago. The world is still in shadows and Its Salvation is still the Light. The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

    Through all of these years, through all of these fears, and through all of these tears, we have never left that silent night so long ago. It is almost as if the world stopped that night for, no matter what supposed changes and so-called progress we have seemingly made in the following two millennia, we are still shivering in the cold breeze of Bethlehem that fateful evening.

There is Still No Room at The Inn

    The Blessed Mother is still bringing Him to us, but we are still ignoring him. The Holy Family is still trying to enter the household of our hearts, but we are still closing the door on Them with pathetic excuses. He is still trying to be born within our midst, but we are still more concerned with pushing Him out so as not to offend or disturb this group or that person. On the most Holy and Blessed day which this earth has seen, on the most Sacred and Transcendent Birthday witnessed by this world, we are still trying to forget Christ on the very day which was forever set aside for Him, to Him, about Him!

    It is not enough that we forget Him most of the other days as well, for we insist on pushing Him out on His very own Birthday. Our so-called leaders call this a holiday and treat a nativity scene like some weapon of mass destruction. We are told over and over that diversity and tolerance and consideration of other groups demands that we turn this into some generic celebration and strip It of Its true and only meaning: The Birth of Jesus Christ our Savior. That is the ONLY TRUE REASON FOR THE SEASON! A society which protects vulgarity and elevates bad taste to art is never as diligent as when it is busy kicking out The Savior of The World from His Own Birthday. Yes, there is still no room at the Inn, for that Inn is ringing with earthly rhythms and worldly intoxications, with secular delusions and modernist myths, and with dancing fools and boastful ignorance too self-absorbed to notice or care for that shivering Mother in the night. Through all of these years, nothing has changed. The Inn is still an out when it comes to welcoming Christ.

He is Still an Outcast for Outcasts

    Despite all of the solemn processions in golden cathedrals, despite all of the jeweled crowns and red robes, despite all of the causes and warriors sworn to His service, He is still an Outcast for outcasts. He is still marginalized to the outskirts of souls, hearts, and minds and isolated to a cave where no human being, much less a King, should arrive.

    Those most loyal to Him are still those most detached from the pomp and concerns of the ever more distant world, for that pomp and concern blinds the eyes and wraps the ears to the sweet message of love, peace, and sacrifice which He carries. He is still betrayed by those claiming to be His disciples. Yet this is still exactly where He wants to be, for He brings a message of humility, obedience, and surrender to The Will of God Almighty.

    It is still the most poor, the suffering, the lowly, and the disrespected of society who come to Him. It is still the rich, the selfish, the privileged, the respected and high of society who ignore Him due to ignorance, cowardice, arrogance, stubbornness, and selfishness. He is still despised, and those wishing to truly follow Him must still be willing to be despised as well.

Innocents are Still Being Murdered

    Just as in that distant town so long ago, innocents are being murdered for selfish, arrogant, corrupt, material, and despicable reasons. However, while all mothers cried during the tragic massacre of that distant Bethlehem, many of them now sigh in relief as they willingly hand their innocent children to be slaughtered by twisted authority. Innocent blood is still being spilled to preserve lifestyles, power, influence, and material possessions while pathetic justifications and vile spin are spun in answer to the drops of innocence which fall to be trampled under foot. No, nothing has changed amid the modernizations, industrializations, and inventions which have transpired since that distant past. Blatant treachery and naked greed still reign the day, and rationalizations and excuses still rule the night. We have not moved one millimeter forward, and likely have slipped much distance back into the cool, callous, clinical shroud which murder wears today.

Hypocrisy Still Thrives

    The air of hypocrisy which surrounded that Air of Sacred Peace in Bethlehem is still alive and well today. This society still pretends to respect, to love, to forgive, to consider, to feed, to clothe, to serve, and to worship, yet it only respects, loves, forgives, considers, feeds, clothes, serves, and worships its perverted, despicable notion of truth and morality.Like the innkeepers who concealed their selfishness and apathy with notions of respect and diligence toward their patrons while disrespecting and ignoring The Holy Family, this society still likewise conceals its ills with pretensions of inclusion, respect, diversity, and concern for others. Like the confused fools who preferred to favor those who could benefit their pockets over a shivering family preparing to witness a birth, this society prefers the opinion of man over the Word of God. Like the vile authority which pretended to define honor, justice, and order while concealing selfishness, disrespect, and treachery, this society pretends to favor all while disfavoring the God who made all. Like the drunken revelers who proclaimed celebration while demonstrating despicable, tragic apathy, this society still tells us to enjoy life while ignoring those who cannot. Like the town which opened its arms to earthly visitors while turning its back on Heavenly ones, this society bows to secular power over spiritual reverence. Yes, the hypocrisy which did not concern itself with that silent night was not silent at all, for its message of arrogance, selfishness, greed, and apathy was loud and clear. Is this society’s message of self any less so?

We are Still Called to Come and Worship

    As in that fateful night long ago, we are still called to come and worship The Savior of The World. Unlike that night, we have witnessed why and how He Saved us and yet many of us still refuse to approach Him! Just as the shepherds did not wait for Bethlehem to give them permission to come to Christ, so too we must not wait for this society to give its consent to our worship, for that worship belongs to God and does not concern itself with this temporary, limited, society. We have seen the Star, and that Star is Christ Himself who guides us toward Him through His sacrifice on the cross. Like the Wise Men who brought Him gifts, we too must bring Him the gifts of our talents offered for His service.

He is Still The Light Which Pierces This Darkness

    Correggio‘s famous chiaroscuro La Notte painting of The Nativity leaves all shadow except the infant Jesus and His mother, Mary. Even her face is illuminated only by the light that comes from Him. It makes little sense to see our existence in any way other than this simple yet profound image. He is truly the Light which pierces the darkness of this world as He pierced the darkness of that town so long ago. Amid the sin, the distortion, the deception, the hypocrisy, the selfishness, the hate, He alone brought clarity and truth. Amid the blindness, deafness, and muted souls, He alone brought vision, sound, and voice to the Way of Salvation. If we honor His Blessed Mother, we do so in His light. If we aspire to salvation, it is only through His direction. If we find our God, it is through His brilliance. If we awaken to a new life, it is only through His dawn. No, nothing has changed since that night in Bethlehem so long ago. The world is still in shadows and Its Salvation is still the Light. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Copyright, 2011    Gabriel Garnica

The Left’s Three Trojan Horses


The Left is always telling us how basic and popular its positions and agenda are among the vast majority of Americans. If that is the case, then why do we find that the Left is constantly resorting to the use of Trojan horses to push its so-called popular positions?

The Bullying Paradox

The highly-publicized suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi in September of 2010 has been used by pro-homosexual activists to wave the issues of bullying and teen suicide as tools for promoting its political agenda and as weapons against those who oppose that agenda. The Left promotes the equation that conservative political, social, and religious viewpoints lead to negative perceptions and judgments of homosexual behavior hence bullying hence suicide. However, a suicide prevention expert and a pro-homosexual activist both state that such a simplistic connection may be actually leading to more suicides.

Ann Haas, research director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suggests that this public connection may lead to copycat behavior and dangerously ignores the role of mental illness in such cases. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/expert-says-media-dangerously-ignore-mental-illness-coverage.html

David McFarland, the interim executive director and CEO of The Trevor Project, which runs a suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth, agrees with the copycat danger plus adds that this simplistic connection between bullying and suicide ignores the complexities of suicide and, perhaps worse, presents suicide as the logical and best solution to bullied LGBT youth. http://www.advocate.com/Politics/Commentary/Op_ed_Our_Role_in_Stopping_a_Suicide_Crisis

These two reasonable arguments dictate a nationwide effort to increase our understanding of the mental health issues which lead to all teen suicides, not just homosexual ones. However, the pro-homosexual lobby is not as interested in helping any teens, including homosexual ones, as it is in using these tragedies to further its political and social agenda and beat down its opposition. The flash of Lady GaGa discussing bullying with a president who strongly supports the homosexual lobby is typical of the strategy of the Left and its pet media in using tragedy to push its agenda regardless of the facts, the truth, or whatever victims do not fit its strategy.

Once one accepts that the Left and media’s promotion of the simplistic bullying-homosexual suicide connection may actually lead to more homosexual teens committing suicide, the homosexual lobby’s efforts to frustrate anti-bullying legislation which does not put homosexual youth at the forefront of its protection becomes clearer. Simply put, these efforts become more evidence that this is all about pushing a Trojan horse of homosexual teen suicide as the justification for the enactment of special and selective laws which place homosexual teens above other teens and pretend that any opposition of the homosexual lobby directly leads to teen deaths.

The Gender Paradox

The pro-abortion lobby’s opposition to laws which outlaw gender and race-based abortions is another classic Trojan horse promoted by the Left. A measure recently signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is an example of such legislation. The Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act or PRENDA makes abortion providers liable for performing gender or race-based abortions while exempting the mother from prosecution. Pro-abortion forces argue that such measures erode a woman’s so-called “right to choose” and, while not specifically compelling a woman to explain the reasons for her abortion, may make them more inclined to feel compelled to do so.

However, such measures are not promoted in a vacuum devoid of reality. Statistics show that minority babies are aborted at five times the rate of white babies, and the use of abortion to favor one gender over the other, often boys over girls, has been spreading across the globe.

Targeting a specific group because of its gender or race seems the textbook definition of genocide, and the Left relishes portraying itself as the champion of minorities and females. Despite this, when those minorities and females are in the womb, the Left leaves the building. This is because the issue of gender or race-based abortion puts the United States Supreme Court and the pro-abortion lobby in a bind. http://www.centerforajustsociety.org/2011/10/24/32807/blog/attacking-roe-via-gender-selection-abortion

If the United States Supreme Court strikes down a ban on gender and race-based abortion, it would seem to be embracing a constitutional right to abort a fetus based on its gender or race, which would seem logically absurd. The Court would be undermining its gender and race protection efforts over the past decades and, for that matter, its politically-propped Roe decision.

If, on the other hand, the Court upholds such a ban, it would be admitting that the human fetus has gender or race and, thus, would be granting it a greater measure of the very same personhood that abortion forces deny the fetus has, thus again undermining its Roe decision.

I contend that the whole issue of gender and race abortion is a death blow for the abortion lobby because, regardless of whether one upholds or strikes down any ban on this basis, one is logically admitting that the fetus has a race of gender. Many quickly agree that upholding such bans grants this concession and is thus anathema to the Left. However, what many do not realize is that striking down such a ban likewise harms the abortion lobby since in order to say that a trait cannot be used to curve a right demands that one accept that said trait exists and, thus, that the fetus has that trait to begin with. One cannot, for example, strike down a ban on discriminating against Latinos without admitting that Latinos exist. Similarly, to say that people can abort a fetus regardless of its race or gender is to admit that the fetus has a race or gender to begin with thus enhancing the whole personhood argument that the Left so passionately denies.

Based on the above arguments, it is clear that the so-called right of abortion hinges on pretending that abortion is only about choice and that the fetus is a thing like a tooth which cannot have a race or gender. This Trojan horse is promoted by the Left and its pet media to hide the fact, as any reasonable person with two brain cells to rub together knows, that there is no such thing as a Latino bicuspid or a female molar which can be removed at the dentist’s office. Hence, a fetus is not a tooth but much, much more.

The Immigration Paradox

While somewhat eclipsed by the economy and other issues, this nation’s illegal immigration issue is still seething beneath the surface ready to explode as the national elections approach. The Left and its media typically present this as an immigration issue and speak of any opposition to wide-scale amnesty, protection, and even favoritism of illegal immigrants as a racist position.

Like the others, this Trojan horse is nothing but a pathetic hypocrisy built on smoke and a biased and selective denial of reality. First of all, the Left rails against profiling as the lumping together of all members of a group under a stereotypical label which unfairly distorts reality and harms at least some members of that group by pretending that they are no different than others within the group. However, is this not precisely what pretending that illegal immigrants and legal immigrants are all the same does? If I see an illegal immigrant standing next to a legal one and call both “immigrants,” am I not profiling both?

Like the bullying issue describe above, this failure to distinguish between illegal and legal immigrants is actually increasing the harm involved. As just described, it is itself inaccurate profiling. Furthermore, it encourages others to see all immigrants as the same, regardless of their immigration status, thus promoting general stereotypes and, for that matter, exposing legal immigrants to the same abuses faced by illegal ones.

Evidence shows that immigrants today are less inclined to favor assimilation within American society while still maintaining their cultural identity and roots which enrich this nation. Emboldened by efforts to encourage cultural isolation at the expense of societal assimilation, many immigrants come to see America as an entitlement paradise where their agenda and interest trumps the rights and privileges of anyone else.

This Trojan horse is obviously the Left’s strategy for patronizing and cultivating a dependent and grateful segment of the population which it can exploit for political and thus social profit.

Conclusion

The three Trojan horses described above vividly illustrate the hypocrisy, greed, and cowardice of the political and social Left as supported by its pet media. While publicly and arrogantly boasting of the moral and social superiority of its positions in three key areas, the Left treacherously uses Trojan horses in each area to concoct an environment of victimization, division, fear, and manipulation for its political and social advantage.

If the Left’s arguments and positions on these key areas are as noble and morally superior as they portray them to be, one may rightly ask why the Left needs these Trojan horses to promote and maintain those positions in the first place. The answer is as simple as it is despicable. Simply put, much of the Left’s political, social, and religious agenda is a sham built on smoke and mirrors which can only be justified, rationalized, and maintained by the cowardly use of victimization, manipulation, and distortion of the truth behind the Trojan horses described above.

At the end of the day, it makes sense that the Left needs Trojans to sneak their agenda into America. After all, they think that a condom solves everything.

© Gabriel Garnica

Peter and Judas Had Great Love, But in Opposite Directions


We all know the stories of Peter’s triple denial of Christ and Judas’s infamous betrayal of Our Lord. Many argue that, if one compares these two acts of betrayal by two of Christ’s chosen, Peter’s core act was worse. For one thing, Peter basically betrayed Christ three times. Given three chances to stand beside his Lord, Peter backed down and even swore that he had nothing to do with the Man who had changed his life forever.  In addition, Peter was warned about precisely what he did.  Christ told Peter that he would deny  three times, prompting Peter to strongly and conveniently provide a denial that he would deny!  While it is true that Peter’s denails were more spontaneous and far less premeditated than the acts of Judas were, the fact still remains that Peter had two almost immediate opportunities to correct his initial error, and only managed to dig himself deeper in the pit each time.  Imagine being told by  your mother that you would deny that she bore you three times to three different people, causing you to become very upset by such an accusation, and then proceeding to, in fact, do that very thing just as your mother predicted you would do.  If such a betrayal seems despicable and cowardly when inflicted on a mother, how much more vile should it seem when directed at our Savior!

What of Judas? Was not his betrayal equally despicable?  Surely, it required greater effort since, unlike Peter, Judas’s wrong required him to actively engage in some premeditated manner with those who would help  him carry out his betrayal. In addition, Judas created the very situation which prompted Peter’s denials by helping Christ’s enemies seize Our Lord. The pieces of silver notwithstanding, many argue that Judas’s  treachery was inspired more by resentment and confusion than greed. He resented that Our Lord was not moving in the direction that he hoped He would, which would be more as an earthly liberator than an eternal Savior. It seems that Judas might have wanted a Christ of aggression rather than a peaceful Lamb of Love.  Many scholars believe that Judas hoped that having Christ arrested would snap Our Lord out of His love theme and into a more assertive stance. Obviously, Judas’s motivations and beliefs demonstrated that he did not learn as much from his Master as one would hope given the years he spent following Christ. Regardless of his confusion and other feelings, Judas’s betrayal was clearly a treacherous action of the highest order.

Faced with two instances of cowardice, betrayal, and despicable disloyalty by two of Our Lord’s chosen, how is it that one of these should go on to become our first pope and the other should end up hanging from a tree? The answer is as basic as it is profound.  Initially, both actions were born out of selfishness.  Judas wanted things to go his way without regard to who would be hurt in the process and Peter wanted to cover his backside and avoid personal risk to  himself regardless of what that would take. 

In a sense, both men loved too much.  The critical difference is that Judas loved himself too much to face the shame of what he had done. He loved himself too much to throw himself at his Master’s feet to beg for forgiveness. He loved himself too much to love his Master above all else. He loved himself too much to stand by his Master seeking reconciliation.  Ironically, Judas loved himself too much but on the terms of this world, where such treachery would usually be unforgiveable.  Simply put, Judas loved himself so much that he never bothered to look to his Lord for a solution. His actions showed that, in the end, Judas’s was so focused on  himself that he convinced himself that he and he alone had the best solution to this dilemma.

Peter, on the other hand, loved his Master too much to be concerned about his shame. He loved his Master too much to worry about humbling himself before his Lord in contrition.  He loved his Master too much to stand being apart from Him.  This great love drove him to beg forgiveness for the most grievous ingratitude, the most vile betrayal, the most despicable cowardice. In a sense, Peter loved his Lord so much that he handed his sorrow and guilt to the One Whose great love defies all human terms, and Who can therefore forgive beyond this world’s measures.

Two men who turned their backs on our Savior.  Both had great love, but in opposite directions.  Judas shows us that when we love ourselves too much, any evil is possible.  Peter shows us that when we love our Lord above all else, anything is possible.  Ultimately, loving God above all else is the place where these two men parted ways for all eternity.

Copyright,  2011  Gabriel Garnica