The first person…. He lived at the same time as Jesus Christ and in the same place. He came from a town of Judah named Kerioth. He was a very close follower of Jesus Christ. In fact he was an Apostle who did not come from Galilee. He was once at a banquet with Our Lord and did not like it when Mary Magdalen spilled precious ointment over Christ’s feet. He used to carry the money bag for the Apostles… Yes…Judas… who betrayed Our Lord and then hung himself in despair.
The second person… He came from Galilee and was also an Apostle of Our Lord. He had a mother-in-law to whom he was very kind. He could not swim very well. He used to argue quite a bit. He was very fond of Our Lord. He committed a sin as great if not greater than the sin of Judas—because blasphemy is the greatest of all sins. He denied that he knew our Lord… St. Peter. But he repented of his sin and was forgiven and elevated to be the head of the Church, the first Pope, by Christ Himself.
Notice the difference between Judas and St. Peter. Both committed very serious sins. One had no hope and hanged himself. The other hoped in Christ and was forgiven… not only forgiven but given greater honor. Hope means that we trust God will give us eternal life if we do our part. Despair means that we give up hope. It means that we think our sins are too great to be forgiven. Christ would have forgiven Judas for betraying Him, if Judas had only asked for forgiveness. He can and will forgive any sin, no matter how great it is. St. Peter was just the opposite of Judas. He did not despair. He did not give up hope. He was sorry for his sin—so sorry that he wept bitterly. He repented and this is what Christ wants. Then after Christ arose from the dead, he made Peter admit three times before the other Apostles that he loved him. That was to make up for the three denials by Peter in the courtyard of Caiphas. “Lovest thou Me?” “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” Then Christ made Peter the head of the Church.
Let us end the sermon this morning by kneeling down and reciting aloud the act of hope.
“O My God, relying on Thine infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain the pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, My Lord and Redeemer. Amen.”
"Heavenwords," Imprimatur 1941