Have you tasted despair? Judas and Peter presentus with the choice between running away from Jesus in despair or returning to him in hope. Judas betrayed Jesus and hanged himself. Peter denied Jesus and returned to him in tears. Sometimes despair seems and attractive choice, solving everything in the negative. The voice of despair says “I sin over and over again. After endless promises to myself and others to do better next time, I find myself back again in the old dark places. Forget about trying to change. I have tried for years. It didn’t work and it will never work. It is better that I get out of people’s way, be forgotten, no longer around, dead.” But Jesus came to open our ears to another voice that says, “I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved. Do not run away from me. Come back to me… Not once, not twice, but always again. You are my child. How could you ever doubt that I would embrace you again. I am your God… The God of mercy and compassion, the God of Pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care. Please do not say that I have given up on you and I cannot stand you anymore, that there is no way back. It is not true. I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me. I know all your thoughts. I hear all your words. I see all your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love. Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself. Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and revealed to you your own beauty, A beauty that you have lost sight of, but which will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me wipe away your tears, and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” This is the voice that Jesus wants us to hear. It is the voice that calls us always to return to the One who has created us in love and wants to re-create us in mercy Peter heard that voice and trusted it. As he let that voice touch his heart, tears came… tears of sorrow and tears of joy, tears remorse and tears of peace, tears of repentance and tears of gratitude. It is not easy to let the voice of God’s mercy speak to us because it is a voice asking for an always open relationship, one in which sins are acknowledged, forgiveness received, and love renewed. It does not offer us a solution, but a friendship. It does not take away your problems, the promises not to avoid them. It does not tell us where it all will end, but assures us that we will never be alone. A true relationship is hard work because loving is hard work, with many tears and many smiles. But it is God’s work and worth every part of it.
Oh Lord, help me to listen to your voice and choose your mercy today. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus Name. Amen.
The Road to Daybreak by Henri J. M. Nouwen