Thursday, 21 April 2011



"The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man" (Matthew 26: 24; Mark 14: 21)

Betrayal is something most of us will suffer at some time in life, and often it is difficult to understand why it happens. Jesus first predicted Judas' betrayal by quoting Psalm 41: 9: "He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me."

During supper, Jesus said: "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

Jesus took a cup, gave thanks and said: "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying: "Take it and eat; this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

After supper, he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to the disciples, saying: "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." 

Jesus then said: "The hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table."

The disciples were sad, and each asked him: "Surely not I?"

"It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

John, at Peter's urging, asked Jesus who would betray him. Jesus responded: "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." He dipped the bread and gave it to Judas.

Judas took it and asked, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" At this point, Satan entered him.

Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you." Then Judas left.

“What will you give me if I deliver Him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26: 15)

When we are betrayed by someone thought to be a friend and spiritual brother we should contemplate the betrayal suffered by Christ. Jesus experienced a most bitter betrayal by one of His closest friends. Psalm 55 encapsulates the sharpness of that betrayal in two stanzas: "If this had been done by an enemy I could bear his taunts. If a rival had risen against me, I could hide from him. / But it is you, my own companion, my intimate friend! How close was the friendship between us. We walked together in harmony in the house of God." Judas Iscariot, who had been chosen by God to be one of the twelve Apostles betrayed the Lord to His death. The full drama of human weakness and evil surrounded Christ in the paschal mystery, but He continued to love and to intercede for our salvation. That drama continues throughout history, but so does the love of God given to us in the Eucharist. Not only does the Eucharist remind us of that love, but more importantly, it is that Love which has the power to conquer all sin and darkness.


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