St. Peter and the Unforgivable Sin

When we read the gospels, we discover that the Lord Jesus declared one sin to be “unforgivable.” Blaspheming the Holy Spirit.* And if it doesn’t terrify us that the Divine Mercy Incarnate declared one sin unforgivable, it should.

st-peter-in-penitence-el-grecoLord, we beg You in Your mercy to deliver us from ever even facing such a temptation! Deliver us from such perilous danger! May we never even know what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit!

Now, we know that St. Peter did a pretty daggone rotten thing. At table with the Lord, He had declared, “I will die with You, Master, rather than deny You! See, I’m brave and consecrated to the truth, just like You!”

Then, when push came to shove, and the Jerusalemites recognized Peter’s rustic seaside accent, the fisherman said, “Oh, yes. Indeed, I am a Galilean. But I have no dealings with this fanatic rabbi, whom they now rightly condemn as a lawless miscreant. Please excuse me while I go about my business, which most certainly does not involve following this lunatic as one of his disciples!”

Wow.

Rotten. Weak. Cowardly. Small. Faithless. Heartless. What kind of friend is this? An ungrateful, wicked, self-deluding one.

But: None of this involved blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Not at all. Jesus spread out His arms on the cross and gave up His Spirit precisely so that we rotten, weak, cowardly, small, faithless, heartless, ungrateful, wicked, self-deluding sinners could be forgiven.

Christ never expected us to be good before He died to redeem us. We sinners need to behold the Lamb of God, crucified out of love for us, first. Then, we can find the strength to examine ourselves and face the truth.

St. Peter never came close to blaspheming the Spirit which Christ breathed into the world by redeeming us on the cross. When his Lord was crucified for him, faithless, weak, self-deluding Peter loved Christ more than ever before. Peter’s own confused and sinful heart broke with love for his Jesus, crucified for him.

No. The one who blasphemed the Holy Spirit wasn’t Peter. It was… Judas. And betraying Christ to the Sanhedrin did not itself involve blaspheming the Spirit. We know that the Lord Jesus would have forgiven Judas’ betrayal just as freely as He forgave Peter’s.

No, Judas blasphemed the Divine Mercy not by betraying Jesus, but by despairing. Judas blasphemed the Holy Spirit when he made his own evil the ultimate sovereignty of his little life. When he hardened his heart and closed himself off completely from the merciful gaze of the gracious Father.

Lord, we beg You: Pour out Your Spirit upon us, to soften our hearts and illuminate our souls, with the warm light that shines from the face of Christ crucified—Christ crucified for us.

_________

* Matthew 12:31, Mark 3:29, Luke 12:10

John 8:51-49

The words and deeds of Jesus Christ: too outrageous to allow for any compromise. And too beautiful to be blasphemy.

Everyone—Pharisees, Sadducees, Apostles, disciples, God-fearers, olive-pressers, shepherds, Jerusalem street-sweepers, everyone—agreed on one thing: Abraham held the true faith. Abraham believed in God, and the God in Whom Abraham believed is real.

Passion Caviezel teachingCan we search the Scriptures and find the episode that most reveals the content of Abraham’s faith? …certainly, when he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, out of obedience to God, yes.

But what about when he pleaded for the city of Sodom?

“Lord, if there are fifty innocent men in the city? Or forty-five, or forty, or thirty, or twenty, or ten? Spare the city for their sakes!”

So it seems that Abraham believed in an infinitely powerful, all-knowing God of mercy, who would forget His justified and righteous anger against the human race for the sake of one truly innocent man. Our father in faith believed correctly, because a. he was ready to obey, and b. he knew that God had compassion, love, and pity for us in our human misery.

Indeed, Abraham was right. Even though fire and brimstone fell on ancient Sodom in the end, because the Lord couldn’t find any innocent people left there, Abraham was nonetheless absolutely right that God is Mercy.

God Himself knew, of course, that Abraham was right. It’s just that the day of mercy was yet to come. Abraham looked forward to it. Abraham fell asleep looking forward to his descendants receiving the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Then the day came. The merciful God came to earth and spoke, a man among men. He said things that would have been blasphemies worthy of stoning, except that this man saying them is God.

Abraham rejoiced to see my day.

Yes, Lord, because this Sodom in which we live has been spared because of You!

Before Abraham came to be, I am.

Amen, Jesus. All glory to You, O uncreated, crucified Mercy and Love, as in the beginning, now, and unto the ages of ages forever.

Pope Francis bracket

Consistency

In the conversations with His fellow Jews, which the Lord Jesus had prior to His Passion (which St. John recounts), we behold Christ’s patient insistence on consistency.

…Ok, dear brethren. We are Jews. That means we believe that God dealt personally with our forefathers. He revealed Himself by inspiring our prophets. We venerate our Scriptures precisely because we believe that the human authors did not write them by virtue of their own native intelligence, but by inspiration from heaven.

Papa Benedicto visited this cerro of Cristo Rey on Sunday
We judge the authenticity of a prophet by the fruit of his works. False prophets, who claim to have divine inspiration but really don’t—their labors ultimately come to grief. They get revealed as frauds, sooner or later.

Meanwhile, the true prophets accomplish great things. They heal. They bring peace. They teach with selfless wisdom and devotion.

Now, okay. You stand here before me because you have been captivated by the things I have done. You acknowledge that the signs of truth and genuine heavenly inspiration have accompanied me throughout my ministry among you.

Praise God! But listen, this is what I am telling you: I am actually here on a unique mission of divine love. Everything that came before merely prepared the way for this moment. It was I who called Abraham. I gave Moses the Law. I inspired the prophets.

Now, you can’t very well turn around and call me a blasphemer when the whole reason you are here is that you believe in the good things that I have taught and done.

All I am asking for, my friends, is consistency: Either believe me when I tell you that I am the eternal Son of the eternal Father, and relax and be happy. Or find a way to explain how a demon-possessed crank could heal lepers, feed the multitudes, bring peace to demoniacs, liberate sinners, and raise the dead.

Just be consistent, that’s all I ask. I mean you no harm. I carry no weapon.

…So they did what any normal group of people does when confronted with pure, calm reason in the face of their passions and prejudices. They killed Him.