Betrayal and Perseverance

John 13:21-33,36-38
Is 49: 1-6 / Ps 71:1-6,15,17

Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.
(John 13:21)

In every sin Christ we betray,
But His grace keeps us from despair;
Just persevere, and do not stray,
Our hope is in God’s loving care.

After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them He meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask Him which one He means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why the Lord said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify the Son in Himself, and will glorify Him at once. “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. Simon Peter asked Him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:21-33,36-38)

Reflection

In His last supper with the apostles, Jesus quoted Scriptures that had to be fulfilled: “The one who shared my bread, has raised his heel against me” (Jn.13:18). It was not only the prospect of facing His coming tormentors and inevitable crucifixion that weighed down His spirit, but the tragic fall of Judas whom Jesus also loved, and whose delusion He so well understood. “I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

It was his delusion, (not the thirty pieces of silver) that finally drove Judas to betray Jesus. He had been following Jesus for three years, and had witnessed the many wonders and healings He had performed. Like many Jews who followed Jesus, he had clung to the hope that their Messiah, the “son of David” would lead the Jewish nation to rise up against imperial Rome. With His awesome powers, the kingdom of David would surely be restored, and the Roman occupation forces driven out of Israel. But a few days earlier, in Bethany, in the house of Martha, Judas had heard Jesus say, “You do not always have me,” and talked about His own burial (Jn.12:7-8). So Judas, being a practical man, decided that following Jesus was a lost cause, and since he was deserting Jesus anyway, he might as well make some money out of this “mess”.

In our mission to win the marketplace for Christ, there may be times when we feel that our efforts are hardly bearing fruits to our satisfaction. Or perhaps we are in a state of disillusion regarding our position in our community. We may be questioning the policies laid down by the governance of our lay organization, and considering to “abandon ship” or find a “greener pasture”. In this state of confusion, it is always prudent to step back and reflect: Did you join this organization to serve the Lord, or were you motivated by some personal expectations? Perhaps your feelings may be akin to those of Judas Iscariot, who had his own plans, which he found were not in consonance with the plans of Jesus and His Father. During this holiest week of the year, let us pray to the Holy Spirit for discernment, and the grace of perseverance in our faith. Let us be one with our brothers and sisters in our community prayers. Recall the writer of Hebrews who wrote: “. . . since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us, and persevere in running the race that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Heb 12:1-2). It is not the fastest runner, but the one who perseveres that will finish the marathon race.

Father God, Giver and Perfecter of our faith, help us in times when our enthusiasm to serve You in our Church and community seems to be growing cold; let Your Holy Spirit rekindle the fire of mission in our hearts so that we may always proclaim Your Word in our community and in our workplaces. Help us to persevere in faith. Amen.

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