Scripture: 1st Reading: Is49,1-6; Resp. Psalm: Ps71,1-6,15,17; Gospel: Jn13,21-33,36-38
He was called from the womb, from the body of His mother, given a name, 3and entrusted with a mission to accomplish the will of His Father. His mission was that of the faithful servant. He was given the role of bringing Jacob back to the Lord his God. But that was the beginning of the mission. It was at first to the lost of the house of Jacob.
At the end of that earthly mission of the Servant of Yahweh, the mission was to the entire creation, to the whole world, all languages, peoples, tongues and races. The word of God from the prophecy of Isaiah says it all: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
The fulfillment of that promise of salvation to all nations and peoples and cultures is the paschal mystery of our Lord's passion, death and resurrection that we commemorate this Holy Week. That fulfillment will come at a very great price: His horrific sufferings and death. In today's gospel, He predicted again that terrible end which His Father had designated for Him.
Our Lord, the light of the nations, predicted that one of His disciples, one of His closest collaborators, would betray Him, would sell Him and give Him away to the enemy. That person would be a traitor from within, an enemy who had pretended to be friend all along. That traitor was Judas Iscariot. To identify him, our Lord gave him a morsel which He had dipped. The light of glory left Judas because of his self gift to the evil one. Satan entered into him and made a home in his heart and soul.
Our Lord knew that with Judas' exit, the hour of His glorification was at hand. He knew He would be just a little while more. He would soon return to His Father because His mission on earth had been accomplished. He would take the disciples later so that they could be where He would be.
Simon Peter did not understand this and told our Lord that he wanted to follow Him immediately, even if that meant laying down his life. Our Lord predicted that the love of Peter was not enough yet for him to do that because even before the cock crew, Peter would have denied Him three times.
So we are in this Holy Week full of drama and expressions of our humanity's lofty and most noble characters on the one hand and our humanity's vilest and most reprehensible characters on the other. Today we have Simon in his incomplete, impetuous love professing that he would lay down his life for our Lord and that he would not want to be away from where our Lord was.
On the other, we see Judas, who was shown so much privilege and love by the Lord and entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the money of the brethren and providing for their needs. We see a Judas who pretended till the end to be a disciple, but who was a mole, a destructive pest from within, who was concerned only about himself and for whom everything and even anyone had a price tag.
Then, we see Jesus, our Lord and Master. He saw all the human interplay of strength and weakness. He saw everything. He read their hearts. But He still loved them to the end. In spite of the disappointment of betrayals from friends, He still fulfilled His Father's will.
Let us again reflect on which character fits into our present personalities in our journey with the Lord: are we like Judas in his pretence, schemings, selfishness, self centredness, love of money and betrayal of trust and sacred friendship? Are we like Peter in his impetuous love, his quick manners of giving answers and not meaning it fully? May the Lord teach us by the example of these two.
Let us pray: "Almighty ever-living God, grant us so to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord's Passion that we may merit to receive your pardon." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.