Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 26:14-25

Wednesday of Holy Week  – Matthew 26:14-25

Today we experience Judas Iscariot negotiating with the chief priests.  Judas doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a traitor.   He goes to the chief priests to make a deal with them.  Judas bluntly tells them that he will hand Jesus over to them; however he will do this only if they agree to pay him very well for betraying his teacher and his friend.  The chief priests are delighted.  After all, 30 pieces of silver is a small price to pay for having this man Jesus given to them.  Jesus had been a thorn in the side of the Pharisees for a long time.  Judas then began to look for the opportunity to hand Jesus over to them.

Matthew then abruptly shifts to a very different scene. As we know, it was Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Jesus’ disciples come and ask him where he wishes to celebrate the Passover meal. Jesus instructs them to go into Jerusalem and find an appropriate place where they could celebrate this sacred meal. Passover is the feast that celebrates Israel’s delivery from bondage in Egypt.  His disciples did as Jesus asked.

That evening in Jerusalem, Jesus and his apostles gathered around the table.  While they were enjoying their meal, Jesus astounded them when he bluntly told them: “One of you will betray me.”  Imagine the horror and shock the apostles must have experienced.  When Jesus uttered these words, the apostles must have been astounded.  Did they look at one another in shock?  Jesus was their friend and spiritual mentor.  They loved Jesus.  They had left their families and jobs to follow him.  Why would they betray him?

Jesus then told them that his betrayer was one who had dipped his hand into the dish with Jesus.  Each one of them had eaten from the dish.  They must have looked at one another, wondering who the betrayer was.  Then each of his disciples asked Jesus: “Am I the one?” Finally, Judas asked: “Is it I, Lord?” Jesus simply responded: “You have said so.”
Have there been times in our lives when we also have betrayed Jesus?  I assume so.  Jesus will forgive us!  Perhaps the more important question is: can we forgive ourselves?  Jesus never stops loving us, no matter what we do.  Jesus continues to invite us to come to him.  Today will we accept his invitation?

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