Tuesday of Holy Week
John 13:1-33, 36-38
Jesus had just washed the feet of his apostles and takes his place again at the table. No doubt that action had deeply impressed these men who had followed him for three years. Looking at him they could see a seriousness and almost a pain in the Master’s face. Maybe Jesus even let out a sigh as he speaks the fateful words: "Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." There it is. They look at one another. Who can be the betrayer? Then Jesus does a most intimate gesture. He takes a morsel of food, dips it in the sauce, and hands it to Judas. Taking the morsel from Jesus, Judas looks into his eyes and realizes that Jesus knows who it is. It’s me! What is he saying? "Do it quickly."
Judas rises from the table and goes out into the night.
Immediately Jesus begins to speak of his "glorification" that is beginning and of his going away. This leads Peter to proclaim that he will follow Jesus anywhere, even to laying down his life for him. In the final irony of this scene Jesus answers: "Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times!"
In these days of Holy Week every Christian is confronted with their faithfulness to the Lord. The sin of Judas seems so deep. "Satan entered him." So complete is Judas separation from Jesus that in despair he will end his life by hanging himself. The sin of Peter, caught by fear, "I do not know the man!" is more understandable, more like our own sins. Who of us has not denied the Lord by our actions? We thank the Lord for the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.