(Jn 13, 21-33, 36-38)
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “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.”
The betrayal coming from friends is a sad reality that repeats itself from time to time. Jesus too was betrayed by a friend. Perhaps it is because people who are not significant to us do not care about us and they do not matter much to us. They have their own program in life and they do not have the time to mind our own. It is however different with friends. They are so close to us that they literally know our life’s path and journey. With good intention, they sometimes interfere in our affairs and impose their own ideas. We are sometimes grateful or angry depending on how things turn out. It is this dynamics of interference from friends, welcomed or unwelcomed, that strengthens the bond or sours the relationship.
Judas was a friend of Jesus. He was loved as such. He however has his own ideas how Jesus should proceed in His life plan. His many interference were gently rebuffed by the Lord. This probably soured his heart. Instead of learning from the Lord, he chose to dwell in the Lord’s rejection. He failed to see the pedagogical import of the Lord’s action. Hence betrayal is but an expression of a heart that hardened through the years.
Fr. Paulson V. Veliyannoor, CMF