13TH APRIL 2022
AMEN, I SAY TO YOU, ONE OF YOU WILL BETRAY ME.
In the first reading from Isaiah, we find the suffering servant talking about his distress in his situation. He has the words of God to share with others, but he is attacked, physically, verbally, and emotionally. He suffers for the good of others amidst challenges. He is abused, but he knows what he is doing is important and necessary. Our lives as
Christians can be a little like that.
It appears that rather than being rewarded for doing the right thing, we are penalized for our faith and faithfulness. We experience pain, frustration, and grief as a result of our human bodies and emotions. However, we know that Jesus had human emotions and a human body. When He was betrayed, He was saddened. When he was crucified, he endured physical suffering. He understands our grief and frustration because He has experienced them Himself.
Today, the Gospel presents us with three scenes: (i) when Judas delivers Jesus; (ii) Passover, which is a figure of the sacrifice of the cross, where Jesus gives His life; and (iii) the Last Supper, in which the delivery of Jesus is manifested, which will be fulfilled on the Cross.
For Passover, Jesus and His closest followers assemble around the table. This family custom was most likely a treasured part of their Jewish heritage, Jesus and his followers are now celebrating as a family. They roll up the bread and bitter herbs as they eat and place them in traditional sauce bowls. Jesus, who is eating the same meal as Judas Iscariot, predicts that one of His closest companions at the table will betray Him.
Judas Iscariot is frequently shown as a gloomy person who represents evil and betrayal. Today we experience Judas Iscariot negotiating with the chief priests and he does not present himself to be anyone other than a traitor. He goes to the chief priests to make a deal with them. Judas honestly tells them that he will hand Jesus over to them. However, he will do this only if they agree to pay him very well for betraying his teacher and his friend. The chief priests are delighted. That evening in Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples gathered around the table. While they were enjoying their meal, Jesus shocks them when he bluntly tells them: “One of you will betray me.” Imagine the horror and shock the apostles must have experienced. When Jesus uttered these words, the disciples must have been astounded. Jesus was their friend and spiritual mentor. They loved Jesus. They had left their families and jobs to follow Him. Why would they betray him?