Tuesday of Holy Week, April 16
Let Us Reflect Upon Those Times in Our Life in Which We Have Betrayed Jesus, Those Times When We Have Caused Him Sorrow.
In the beginning of today’s Gospel Reading, we hear Jesus saying to His Apostles, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Today, the Evangelist Saint John, in his account of the Gospel message, brings us to the scene of the Last Supper on Thursday evening, where Jesus had just finished washing the feet of His Apostles. The story that is presented to us is a very solemn one, wherein Jesus is talking about His betrayal, and Judas leaves the meal to fulfill his role as the betrayer.
One can only imagine what went through Jesus’ mind and what He was feeling in His Heart at that moment. Here we have a man, Judas, who, like any other man, had his faults; but here was someone who had followed Jesus for three years; he listened to Him, ate with Him, probably even prayed and laughed with Him. He had seen the miracles Jesus had performed, the healing of so many sick people, possibly even the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
But in Judas’ mind, Jesus was not a zealot, someone who would lead a violent overthrow of Roman occupation. Jesus preached love, compassion, and the forgiveness of one’s enemies. Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, and yet Jesus treated him as a dear friend, someone He loved. So one can only imagine the sorrow which filled our Lord’s Heart at that moment.
And after Judas had left, Jesus, in the midst of His sorrow, said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” Salvation history – God’s Divine Plan for human salvation – was about to be fulfilled through this betrayal and Jesus’ impending Passion, Death and Resurrection.
During this Lenten period, we are called to remember the words of John 3:16, which we sometimes see on signs in public gatherings – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
As sad as Judas’ act of betrayal was, it was necessary in order for Jesus to become the unblemished Sacrificial Lamb who would give His Life upon the Cross, which would become the Sacrificial Altar of life for each of us.
An untold number of books have been written, and countless numbers of retreats and homilies have been spoken on Jesus’ Passion throughout the centuries. What is important to remember is that, due to the sinful and fallen nature of mankind – from Adam’s betrayal of God’s trust to that moment when the last baby to be born takes place on this side of Heaven – man’s broken relationship with God needed to be restored.
The Heavenly Father sent His Only-Begotten Son into this world to take our sinful flesh upon Himself for the purpose of mending this fractured relationship, so that, through Jesus’ sacrificial offering of Himself, it is His Blood, which He freely poured out for each and every single one of us, which cleanses us, purifies us, and makes us one with the Eternal Father again.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that God’s saving plan for each of us was accomplished once and for all times “by the redemptive death of His Son Jesus Christ.” Also, through Jesus’ sacrificial offering of Himself, He has become “High Priest and unique Mediator who has gained for us access to God’s saving grace for humanity.”
In our First Reading today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the prophet is telling us that the Servant will be the source of salvation for not only Israel, but also for the entire world. Yesterday, we listened to the first of the Servant-of-the-Lord oracles; today, we read the second.
The Eternal Word is telling us, through Isaiah, that this Servant will reconcile God’s people to Himself, “For now the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him.”
But this Servant’s vocation is not only for the restoration of Israel, but also for the conversion of the entire world, “It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Yet, part of our Gospel message today focuses on the betrayal of this “light to the nations” – a betrayal which is undoubtedly one of the sadder moments in the whole Passion story. For it tells us of a betrayal by someone who knew Jesus as a friend, someone whom Jesus loved dearly – a betrayal which wounded our Lord deeply.
And we might ask ourselves the question, “How could Judas do this to his good friend?” – until we realize that a part of Judas resides in each and every one of us, for we have all betrayed Jesus at some point in our lives, for we are all sinners in need of God’s Mercy!
Just as Judas did, we too have heard Jesus’ words of compassion, words which give eternal life, words which heal the broken-hearted, words which give hope and meaning to our lives.
Yet, we too have chosen, at different times in our life’s journey, to turn our back on His Love. We too have chosen to embrace the seductions of secularism over sanctity – for our thirty pieces of silver.
In our human weakness, and in the absence of God’s grace, Satan can twist love and turn it into hate; he can turn charity into pride, discipline into cruelty, affection into complacency, purity into sinful lust. Each of us must constantly be on our guard, lest Satan turn us from our love for God and the path which God has chosen for us!
Yet, in spite of our fallen and sinful nature, in spite of our many human weaknesses, the psalmist today lifts us up with words of strengthening and assurance, words which become a profession of faith for each of us in our times of sorrow and distress –
“In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me…For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength” – one of my favorite psalms.
As you and I continue our journey through Holy Week, let us reflect upon those times in which we have betrayed Jesus in our lives, those times when we have caused Him sorrow.
And may we each recognize that, in spite of our weaknesses, God is truly our only Source of strength, our only Source of salvation. For it is He alone upon whom we should be placing all our fears and distress; it is He alone upon whom we should be placing all our hopes and desires – as we ask for His forgiveness for our every betrayal, our every act of unfaithfulness.
Only God can fulfill the deepest longings within our heart and soul – the desire to rest in His loving and merciful care, to be guided and protected from every evil, and to find peace in knowing that it is God alone who truly fulfills our every need in life.
For it is God alone who gives us a lasting hope, a hope which truly sustains us in the midst of life’s trials and tribulations. “Jesus, I trust in You!” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’” (John 13:21)
- “Then Satan entered into Judas, the one surnamed Iscariot, who was counted among the Twelve, and he went to the chief priests and temple guards to discuss a plan for handing him over to them.” (Luke 22:3-4)
- “My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
- “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” (1 John 2:4-5a)
- “For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him.” (Isaiah 49:5ab)
- “It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
- “In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me…You are my hope, Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depended since birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength.” (Psalm 71:2, 5-6b)
- “Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice.” (Isaiah 41:10)
- “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
- “For in hope we were saved.” (Romans 8:24a)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”Anonymous