FIRST READING (Isaiah 50:4-9a)
Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be smitten, that you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and bleeding wounds; they are not pressed out, or bound up, or softened with oil. Your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence aliens devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens. And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom.
GOSPEL (Matthew 26:14-25)
O one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?”
And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.
When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
The tragedy of the betrayal - Servants of the Word
How do we prepare to celebrate the days ahead?- Pope Benedict XVI
FURTHERMORE . . .
Yesterday and today, the Church has forced us to consider Judas, who betrayed Jesus. Surely one reason for this is to help us recognize the Judas we have within and repent.
Jesus loved Judas. Even when Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, Jesus called Judas his friend (Matthew 26:50). At the Last Supper, Jesus gave Judas the select morsel of food (John 13:26). Nor did Jesus embarrass Judas when he announced that one of the apostles would betray him, for when Judas left the Last Supper, some of the other apostles thought Judas was going to “buy what was needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor” (John 13:29). Jesus loved Judas so much that he had obviously not drawn attention to his stealing from the common purse (John 12:6).
We sometimes feel a bit snooty toward Judas, forgetting that we, too, betray the Lord often through the paucity of our witness, the lack of desire for sanctification, and our bullying treatment of others. Let's examine our hearts to see what we should confess and put right with him.
Sometimes we have been betrayed by other people whom we have trusted and loved - even within the Church - and those experiences have left scars and wounds that impact on us years (and even decades) later. Let's open our hearts and minds to the healing love of the Lord Jesus who suffered do much for us, and who along can renew us deep within.
Jesus loves each one of us with tenderness and mercy. He sees the Judas in us, convicts us of our sins, and calls us to repentance so that we will receive his love and healing. Jesus loved Judas, but Judas pushed his love away. Jesus loves each of us. Will we allow ourselves to be drawn deeply into his love, or, as with Judas, will his death for us be in vain?
O Gracious Father,
we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church;
that thou wouldest be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace.
Where it is corrupt, purify it;
where it is in error, direct it;
where in any thing it is amiss, reform it.
Where it is right, establish it;
where it is in want, provide for it;
where it is divided, reunite it;
for the sake of him who died and rose again,
and ever liveth to make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.
Amen.Archbishop William Laud (1573-1645)