View all Gospel Reflections |
Betrayal and Hope
Tuesday of Holy Week
John 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.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, in this time with you, quiet my heart. Take my thoughts away from the list of things I have to do today and my worries, difficulties, struggles, and concerns. I want to unite my suffering and my joy today to your Sacred Heart.
- Troubled at Heart: Here, at the final meal Jesus would share with his beloved friends and disciples, we get a glimpse into the heart of Jesus as a man. Despite his divine knowledge of the efficacy of what was to come, he was troubled. As a man, it caused Jesus great pain to know that Judas was handing him over to torture and death so callously, for a mere pittance. As an all-merciful God, he also bore the sadness that one of his beloved disciples was to become a lost sheep and fall so gravely into the clutches of sin, greed, and evil. The Gospel clearly tells us that Satan entered Judas, yet Judas had paved the way for Satan by stealing and lying, hardening his heart to good. May we resolve to avoid even the most venial of sins, “because of thy just punishment, but most of all because we have offended you, who are all good and deserving of all our love.”
- Determined in His Father’s Will: After Jesus predicted the events that would unfold that night, he sent Judas out to do what he would do. Despite knowing that he was setting into motion his own capture and painful death, Jesus was not going to interfere in the will of his Father. He looked upon the face of his beloved friends and accepted that he was to go where they could not follow. He held fast to the knowledge that God would be glorified in the end. When we are facing pain, suffering, and death, we can accept our reality and hold fast to the knowledge that God will be glorified as well. We can unite ourselves with Jesus, who knows firsthand our pain. And we can look forward to heaven, where “every tear will be wiped away” (Revelation 21). We can always trust in our father’s steadfast love, even in the most difficult times.
- Forgiveness of Our Weakness: Peter spoke for all of the disciples when he asked to follow Jesus no matter where he went. Celebrating the Passover with Jesus after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Peter and all of the Apostles were expecting great things. They had not realized that in a few short hours their beloved teacher would be arrested, mocked, tortured, and crucified. Peter could not fathom any instance where he would betray Jesus, yet shortly after Jesus’ arrest he denied even knowing him. Remembering that St. Peter, the man Jesus called his rock, failed so miserably, should give us all comfort when we fail. Jesus chose men and women who were not perfect to follow him and build his church. Time and again, they sought his forgiveness and continued the struggle to follow him and be his disciples. Our Lord invites us to imitate their fidelity and perseverance.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, how I wish to lay down my life for you. In my weakness, I know that I often deny you. Whenever I choose to do the easy thing instead of the right thing, whenever I choose to do what I know you do not want me to do, I deny you. I take comfort in the fact that even St. Peter, in his human frailty, could not follow you perfectly. Give me strength to continue to try each day and in each moment to turn to you for wisdom and guidance. Give me the will to repent when I fall and to continue to follow you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will prayerfully reflect on the last discourse of Jesus, found in the Gospel of John.
For Further Reflection: Judas Iscariot, The Apostle Who Betrayed Jesus.
Cathy Stamper lives in Maryland with her husband, Mike. They have been partners in business, marriage, and parenthood for over thirty-one years. She enjoys reading, daily Mass, the beach, exercise, and time spent with her five young adult children, large extended family, and friends. Cathy is a lay member of Regnum Christi, an occasional speaker at women’s retreats, and an active member of her parish and Walking With Purpose.