Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!
It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” “Surely not I, Lord?”
Who’s the traitor? Not me! How easy it is to point the finger at someone else to “save face”. Today and in the days before Easter, we see Jesus’ closest friends handing him over, abandoning him in Gethsemane and denying him three times for the earthly rewards of payment or avoidance of persecution. How ironic. Self-preservation and deliberate avoidance of bearing a cross by his disciples directly result in the Passion of Jesus, who bears the weight of our cross, who gives completely of himself by dying so that we can be born into eternal life.
We can be both betrayer and beloved. Flawed humans who are in God’s likeness. I take comfort in knowing that both despite our humanity and because of our humanity we are, simply by “being”, unconditionally loved by a God who offers a wellspring of forgiveness and who gifted us with the hope of eternal salvation.
—Mariette P. Baxendale, Ph.D., is the Science Department chair, member of the Ignatian Charism Committee and Active Proponent of Mission and Identity in the Classroom at De Smet Jesuit High School, St. Louis.
Help me to recognize my desolations and consolations. Give me the strength to turn back to You when I stray. In times of duress, give me the courage to turn toward You and not away. Awaken me to Your presence in the crosses of life and draw me into Your invitations for growth and renewal. Let me always feel the gift of Your unfailing love and let me let You, Lord, drive all that I do.
—Mariette P. BaxendalePlease share the Good Word with your friends!