Tag Archives: betrayal

Tuesday of Holy Week

Lent 1
Readings
The gospels from Monday to Thursday in Holy Week take us away from the crowded temple area in Jerusalem where Jesus spoke before many of his avowed enemies. These days he eats at table with “his own.” In Bethany six days before Passover he eats with Martha , Mary and Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead. Mary anointed his feet with precious oil in a beautiful outpouring of her love.

The gospels for Tuesday and Wednesday bring us to the table in Jerusalem where he eats with the twelve who followed him. Love is poured out here too, but these gospels describe a love with great cost. “I tell you solemnly, one of you will betray me,” Jesus says to them. Friends that followed him abandon him. Judas dips his hand into the dish with him and then goes out into the night. Peter will deny him three times; the others flee. Jesus must face suffering and death alone.

Are we unlike them?

Does a troubled Jesus face us too, “his own,” to whom he gave new life in the waters of baptism and Bread at his table. Will we not betray or deny? Are we sure we will not go away? The gospels are not just about what’s past; they’re also about now.

We think the saints exaggerate when they call themselves great sinners, but they know the truth. That’s the way St. Paul of the Cross described himself in his account of his forty day retreat as a young man:

“I rejoiced that our great God should wish to use so great a sinner, and on the other hand, I knew not where to cast myself, knowing myself so wretched. Enough! I know I shall tell my beloved Jesus that all creatures shall sing of his mercies.” (Letter 2)

Almighty ever-living God,

grant us so to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord’s Passion

that we may merit to receive your pardon.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.

 

“Absalom, Absalom, my son”

Stories from the Old Testament often have a raw quality that may cause us to turn away from them. They may not seem uplifting; too much murder, rape, lies and disloyalty in them, we say.

After the Prophet Nathan accuses David of his sins of murder and adultery, he tells him “the sword shall never depart from your house.” (2 Samuel 12, 10) In our first reading today at Mass the prophet’s message is fulfilled. David’s son Absalom  betrays his father and tries to take his throne. (2 Samuel 15, 13 ff) All that’s said about Absalom points him out as a bad kid.

“An informant came to David with the report, ‘The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom.’” David flees from Jerusalem to escape Absalom and his army; he crosses the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives and then heads for the wilderness around the Jordan River for safety.

Jesus came to Jerusalem by that same route, we remember. He also crossed the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives to pray as he faced betrayal and death.

David’s advisors want him to kill his scheming son, but David refuses, because of his deep love for him. He becomes inconsolable when the young man meets a tragic death. “Absalom, Absalom, my son!” His love seems unexplainable.

And so is the love of Jesus, unexplainable.

Betrayal

John 13, 21-38

The Gospels for Monday to Thursday in Holy Week take us away from the crowded temple area in Jerusalem where Jesus spoke to the crowds and his avowed enemies and bring us into homes where “his own” join him to eat a meal.

In Bethany six days before Passover he eats with those he loved: Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead. In Jerusalem on the night before he dies he eats with the twelve who followed him. During the meal in Bethany, Mary anoints his feet with precious oil in a beautiful outpouring of her love.

But the Gospels for Tuesday and Wednesday point not to love but betrayal. Friends that followed him abandon him. Judas betrays him for thirty pieces of silver and goes out into the night; Peter will deny him three times; the others flee. Jesus must face suffering and death alone. (Judas’ Betrayal, J.Tissot)

Are we unlike them? Does a troubled Jesus face us too, “his own,” to whom he gave new life in the waters of baptism and Bread at his table. Will we not betray or deny? Are we sure we will not go away? The Gospels are not just about long ago; they’re also about now.

Betrayal

Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”

Tuesday, Holy Week

The gospels from Monday to Thursday in Holy Week take us away from the crowded temple area in Jerusalem where Jesus spoke to the crowds and his avowed enemies and bring us into homes where “his own” join him to eat a meal. In Bethany six days before Passover he eats with those he loved: Martha, Mary and Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead. In Jerusalem on the night before he dies he eats with the twelve who followed him.

During the meal in Bethany, Mary anoints his feet with precious oil in a beautiful outpouring of her love. But the gospels for Tuesday and Wednesday point out, not love, but betrayal. Friends that followed him abandon him. Judas betrays him for thirty pieces of silver and walks into the night; Peter will deny him three times; the others flee. Jesus must face suffering and death alone.

Are we unlike them?

Does a troubled Jesus face us too, “his own,” to whom he gave new life in the waters of baptism and Bread at his table. Will we not betray or deny?  Will we not go away?

Surely the gospels are not just about long ago; they’re also about now.