Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 26, 2024


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R/. My mouth will tell of your salvation, Lord.

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/. Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father; you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

At that time: [Jesus, reclining with his disciples,] was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the money bag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. When he had gone out, 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 glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterwards.” Peter said to him, “Lord, 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? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow till you have denied me three times.

1.      Jesus was deeply troubled in his spirit because he knew that he would be betrayed by one of his own core group. Jesus declares, “It is he to whom I will give the morsel of bread when I have dipped it”. Betrayal causes unbearable pain, especially when it is by one who was so close to us, whom we have trusted so much, whom we have given so much.

2.      What anguished him so much was not that he was betrayed but who betrayed him. Judas Iscariot had been specially chosen by the Lord; lived closely with Jesus; was taught a lot; also was entrusted with a key responsibility of money management as the procurator.

3.      But yet he betrayed. Why? The reason is also very clear in the gospel episode. “It was night” when Judas Iscariot left the company of Jesus. And night always has the connotation of darkness. So obviously, Judas who was walking in darkness betrayed Jesus who is the true light. Therefore, whenever we walk in the darkness, we will go against Jesus and become betrayers like Judas Iscariot.

4.      Judas was under the spell of Satan as it is mentioned, “Satan entered into him”. But it is disturbing to note that this happened “after he had taken the morsel”. Jesus shared the bread with him. It was a sign of closeness and belongingness. But this in no way prevents him from the evil act. This clearly indicates that mere external allegiance to Jesus is no guarantee of loyalty. Only a deeper and personal commitment can seal the relationship with Jesus.

5.      We also find the boastful claim of Peter, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you”. Jesus brings him to his senses, saying, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times”.

6. This again shows that there are no guarantees for our unfailing loyalty. We are fragile and we can never depend totally on our own strength and claim to remain unshaken.

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