Holy Week Tuesday
Reading: John 13:21-33, 36-38 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘very truly, I tell you, one of you is about to betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another; uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples – the one whom Jesus loved- was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give the piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.
Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.’ Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not folIow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.
Reflection Jesus was sharing a meal with his disciples and discerns that one of his chosen followers is about to betray him. A spirit of sadness overshadows the meal. Jesus shared his anxiety with the disciples and disbelief follows; none of them could imagine that they would wish to betray their Lord. A dialogue ensues between Simon Peter and the beloved disciple; all wish to know who has broken the bond of friendship they all shared with the Master. Jesus tells them that it is the one to whom he will give the piece of bread that he has dipped in the dish and He proceeds to give it to Judas Iscariot. The spirit of Satan enters Judas and he leaves to betray Jesus under the cover of darkness. Jesus instructs the disciples that the glorification of God and his own glorification would soon take place. He will have to leave them for this to happen. Peter wishes to follow Jesus but Jesus tells him that this is not possible at this time; in due course he will follow Jesus but does not indicate to him how this will happen. Peter is distressed at the prospect of Jesus’ departure and impetuously states that he would lay down his life for Jesus. Jesus understands Peter’s vulnerability and tells him that he will have denied him three times before the cock has crown not to mind, paying the ultimate sacrifice for Jesus.
As I reflect on this passage, I am conscious that Jesus is saddened each time that I sin and betray him. I have been graced in baptism and invited into an intimate relationship with him. When I sin, I choose to walk away and live under the cover of darkness. The deep bond of friendship that has been offered to me has been broken and I am at risk of losing this most special friendship if I chose to live outside of God’s law. Like Peter, I too can be impetuous and make promises to God that I am unable to keep. When I do so, promises can be made without due prayer and reflection; denial of the Lord will follow when I respond from my own human spirit rather than from decisions made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Prayer Lord, I ask forgiveness for the times when I have broken the trust that you have placed in me; for the times that I have not honoured our friendship; for the times that I have denied you and walked away under the cover of darkness, I make this prayer in your name, O Lord. Amen.