The Gospel reading for today from John is painful on two fronts. First, Jesus said to Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly” (Jn 13:27). Did their eyes meet at that moment, was there an unspoken appeal from Jesus to Judas, or had that already been settled in Jesus’ full surrender in the Garden of Gethsemane? Judas aligned himself with Satan and set his course, and removed himself from Jesus and his companions.
The second front appears at the end of today’s reading. Despite Peter’s apparent full endorsement of Jesus and promise to even lay his life down for him, Jesus predicted that “the cock will not crow until” Peter will deny him “three times” (Jn 13:38). The momentum of utter betrayal builds. Judas will agree to turn Jesus over for thirty pieces of silver. He will betray the Son of God, yet in so doing, Judas will play his part in salvation history.
Judas will set in motion Jesus’ arrest that will culminate in his crucifixion. Peter will come to deny Jesus three times as Jesus predicted. I cannot think of any experience worse than to experience the pain of betrayal. Yet, how is it that we betray Jesus each day? Remember what he taught us, “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me” (Mt 25:45). Who and how have we betrayed Jesus in our lives? This is an important question to ask, and what is even more important is that we not only answer it honestly, but seek forgiveness and resist the temptation of isolating ourselves in our sin and pride.
Judas separated himself, cut himself off from Jesus and his companions. He realized his sin, he did not seek forgiveness, isolated himself further and took his life. Peter, also regretted his sin, his cowardice, he wept when he heard the cock crow, but he also trusted, and later affirmed his love for Jesus three times, atoning for his three denials and was forgiven. We are a sinful and wounded Church, we each have weaknesses, but if we are humble and honest, admit and confess our sin, seek the support from Jesus and our companions, we will be the Church triumphant!

Photo: Stone crucifix in dining room of Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center
Link for the Mass reading for Tuesday, March 27, 2018:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032718.cfm

 

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