Root vegetables are some of the most challenging crops for a new gardener to harvest. Because you can’t easily tell then they are fully ripened, it’s easy to pull them up at the wrong time. For instance, carrots are supposed to be harvested after they produce a full plume of leaves. Yet there’s always that chance that this beautiful fountain of leafy stems is hiding a small, under-formed carrot. And yet potatoes are best harvested when it looks like the above-ground plant is dead. If you pull them out too soon, you can’t replant them. And if you wait too long, they will rot in the ground. You have only one chance.
The night of the Last Supper posed a similar kind of confusion for the apostles. They saw all the signs that made them think that Our Lord was about to take his place as King: cheers and palms during their entry into Jerusalem, adoring crowds, and amazing miracles. With such powerful displays, they must have thought it was harvest time.
In the upper room, Our Lord tried to show them the kind of King he was destined to become. He even tried to prepare them for their new roles in his Kingdom. But then he started talking about leaving them and how they would not be able to follow him where he was going. It was all so baffling. His glory was so close, but they didn’t understand that he had to die first in order to take up his throne. So in their confusion, they made a few mistakes.
Imagine how Peter felt when, after denying Jesus three times, he heard the cock crow. Imagine how all the disciples felt at the Last Supper when they began arguing about who was the greatest.
We all make mistakes and Our Lord understands that we are all like novice gardeners. The miracle of Christianity is that quite often, we can undo our mistakes. We can replant something and still watch it grow.