Scripture: 1st Reading: Is50,4-9; Resp. Psalm: Ps69,8-10,21-22,31,33-34; Gospel: Mt26,14-25
Today, in the third servant song of prophet Isaiah, the word of God captures and enters into the inner recesses of the mystery of the suffering servant of Yahweh. The characteristic hallmark of this servant is total, unalloyed, unflinching obedience. The suffering servant is meek, gentle and not rebellious against what is required of Him.
The terrible sufferings that would be visited on the Servant of Yahweh is described by this prophecy. He will willingly submit to being struck. His beard would be pulled out. He would not cover his face against insults and spittle. He would be out to shame and disgraced. But He would be vindicated because God would help Him.
This prophecy would be brought to fulfillment in the drama of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, one of His privileged collaborators, Judas Iscariot, switched over to the side of the adversaries of His Master. He sold His Master for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew captured the terrible transaction for posterity.
The word today tells us that Judas went to the chief priests and asked them: "what will you give me if I deliver him to you"? He put a price tag on the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He made Him a "thing" to be disposed off if there was a good "offer". He sold the Lord of heaven for corrupted and stained money.
Even today on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, while they were at table for supper, our Lord out of love told His disciples that one of them was going to betray Him. This was still a warning sign to Judas to turn back from his path of perdition. Our Lord even told them that woe to the man by whom the Son of man was betrayed and that it would be better if such a man had not been born.
These were strong signals and warnings made out of love for this apostle who ate and drank with the Master. But the warning signs were not heeded. This, coming after Judas had gone to the chief priests and had been paid thirty silver pieces to betray the Master, was the greatest act of betrayal. Judas knew what he had done,and he still had the guts to ask our Lord if he was the One who would betray Him!
The life of this disciple should teach us to always be on our guard. We must never allow the evil one and space in our hearts. We must walk with the Lord, be heart and soul with Him, otherwise the danger of falling into deep pit of sin is very much there. This is because there is actually a thin line between righteousness and godliness and a life of sin and corruption. Both start in the heart of man.
In all of these drama and tragedy of betrayal and wickedness of a trusted disciple, our Lord was resolute. The will of the Father had to be fulfilled. Nothing must stop that. Let us contemplate His obedience today. Let us contemplate His love and patience with this wolf in sheep's clothing. Let us reflect on His mercy that this disciple turned his back on. Let us think of the many times He warned us before we committed sins. Let us ask Him to waken our ear "to hear as those who are taught."
Let us pray: "O God, who willed your Son to submit for our sake to the yoke of the Cross, so that you might drive from us the power of the enemy, grant us, your servants, to attain the grace of the resurrection." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.