READINGS for 2009-04-08
Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” – Matthew 26:22
Have you ever been betrayed? Do you still remember how you felt? You can still feel the hurt and the tears like it was just yesterday, right?
It’s an awful feeling that we never want to experience. Backstabbed by the people close to you, nothing beats losing trust and being so miserably disappointed with a loved one.
Maybe that’s how Jesus felt when Judas gave Him away. Heart-wrenching and gut- twisting. In His mind, the Master might have shouted. “How could you?”
We, too, betrayed and still betray Christ. We are traitors several times over. Tayo ay mga taksil. Every time we sin, every lie we make, each time we let our pride get in the way of relationship, we become Judas.
Just as much as we do not want to be betrayed by those who love us, we should exert all effort to be loyal to Him who loves us most.
This Holy Week, and for the rest of our lives, let us resolve not to add to His anguish. Jun Asis
How do we betray Jesus? What can we do to stop being traitors to our Lord?
Lord, we ask for Your mercy and forgiveness for the many times we fall into sin. Give us the grace to stand up and be renewed.
This third of the Servant Songs of Yahweh seems to express the belief that suffering will rarely be far from those who choose to follow the will of God. When we examine the lives of the great men and women of the Bible and the saints of the Christian faith, we will see that this is true. Yet, it stops none of them from maintaining faith and trust in God! Let us pray that the same will be true of us.
4 The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; 5 and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. 6 I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. 7 The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. 8 He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. 9 See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?
P S A L M
Psalm 69:8-10. 21-22. 31 and 33-34
R: Lord, in your great love, answer me.
7  For your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. 8  I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons, 9  because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me. (R) 20  Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak, I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for consolers, not one could I find. 21  Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (R) 30  I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving: 32  “See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts be revived! 33  For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.” (R)
G O S P E L
Judas, even when he knows that he is going to betray Jesus, is still trying to maintain a good face in front of the rest of the disciples. I wonder what it was that really turned Judas’ mind that he decided to betray Jesus? Surely money was not sufficient! Yet, perhaps the answer to this question rests within my own experience of choosing to sin. There is not that much difference to choosing sin today as, in a sense, any sin is a betrayal of Jesus at one level or another!
14 One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, 16 and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. 17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.’ ” 19 The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” 23 He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. 24 The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” 25 Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”
think:Suffering should not stop us from maintaining faith and trust in God.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Exodus 1-3
hoW Do i AvoiD the sin oF JuDAs?
Once more we encounter Judas in today’s Gospel. I have tried to look at him from different angles to find a lesson for me. I find it easy to identify with Peter but I would never want to be identified with Judas. And yet, there are parallels.
Jesus chose him and not another man as the twelfth apostle. He drew him into His closest circle of friends and showed him His love. Jesus gave him a great responsibility in the group of disciples — to manage the common fund. Similarly, I was chosen to be a disciple and friend of Jesus; I feel His love for me and He has given me the great responsibilities of a disciple.
Jesus was gentle with Judas during the Last Supper, and called him “friend” when he brought the soldiers to arrest Him. I have experienced the same kindness of Jesus —how often did He treat me as a friend when I had hurt Him with my sins?
Judas followed Jesus, as I do. He had listened to Jesus, as I do. He was ready to give three years of his life to be with Jesus. The same with me, in fact, more than three years already.
Here I wish the comparison would end. What can Judas teach me so that I do not do the last terrible step: betray my Lord?
Judas heard Jesus but did not listen. He was not ready to do what Jesus taught. He nourished evil instead of accepting Jesus’ repeated call for repentance.
Repentance and ongoing conversion then must be my first step, repeated again and again over the years. I must be brutally honest with myself, admit my evil tendencies and allow Jesus to heal me. I have to ask the Lord to support me in this difficult step from evil to good, to help me deepen my faith and let my love for Him grow. I have to ask Him to support me in my struggle to let the friendship He offers grow in me. In other words, I stay in constant communication with Him, always knowing that without Him I can do nothing. For I know that without Him I might eventually do the last step Judas made. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
What concrete steps can I take so as to deepen my friendship with Jesus?
Lord, You offer me Your friendship, even though I cause Your spirit to be troubled. Help me to never betray You or turn against You. Let me always live worthy of the fact that You have chosen me, unworthy as I am.
St. Jullia Billiart, Virgin, pray for us.
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