Tuesday – April 11- JN 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus' side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus' chest and said to him,
"Master, who is it?"
"It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it."
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
"Buy what we need for the feast,"
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, 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 he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you."
Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?"
Jesus answered him,
"Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later."
Peter said to him,
"Master, 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?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times."
Reflection by Matt Stevens
There is a world of difference between Peter and Judas. Judas betrays, Peter denies. Both are similar in that they sin against Jesus in a very direct, deep, and personal way. Yet, most would agree that selling out Jesus to the people who want to kill him is probably a much greater offence than denying that you know him in public. But other than severity, there is another huge difference: Peter returns! Judas flees in shame never to be counted as a disciple again; Peter sticks it out. Lent is a time of returning to Jesus with contrite hearts. We have all no doubt sinned against Jesus in our own ways. He foresaw it with Judas and Peter, and guess what, he foresaw it with you and me too! But what matters now is that we not lose heart. Because of his death and resurrection, the guilt we feel from sin is not meant to crush us, but renew us. I like to think of it as "constructive stress" that nudges us to expect more from ourselves and from our relationship with Jesus. May these last few days of Lent indeed be a time where we not just expect or hope for "more," but one where we actually make "more" happen. Just as there's a world of difference between Peter and Judas, there's also a world of difference between having a "busy" week and a Holy Week! Let's have a Holy Week!
Monday, April 10 - JN 12:1-11
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, "Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.
Reflection by Jane Mickal
As I read this Gospel passage, three words kept resonating with me,
"Leave her alone." Whoa! Leave her alone. I noticed that Our Lord's words were recorded as an imperative statement and not as a request. "Leave her alone." Judas was so distracted with his self-centered desires that he had no understanding of or appreciation for what was transpiring right before his eyes! His spiritual blindness led him to criticize and pass judgment on Mary's actions. Maybe he thought by expressing his opinion, he would be recognized for possessing wisdom. Maybe it was because he "had" to be with Jesus at that supper or because he had been "around" Jesus for "so long" that he allowed a coldness or numbness to invade his heart. His lack of sensitivity kept him from participating in a truly humble act of worship filled with great love. St. John's Gospel reveals for us the true heart of Judas which Judas thought he had successfully hidden. Whoa, again! How often do my thoughts and actions eventually reveal areas in my soul that need to reconcile with My Lord? How often have I rash-judged another's actions or intentions? There have been so many times that I have acted with blindness and deafness towards my Lord's Will and to the needs of others.
(O my Jesus, please heal my spiritual blindness and warm the coldness that creeps into my heart.)
Mary's actions, on the other hand, came from an selfless heart of love. What gift would be the BEST she could give in thanksgiving for the life of her brother? Mary's gift of the expensive oil was magnanimous, yes! But more so was the gift of herself as she knelt in loving humility anointing Her Savior's feet and prayerfully wiping these sacred feet with her hair. Exposing her hair was an intimate gesture that was not frivolously done, especially in public. I imagine that she also gently kissed and caressed those feet that would soon be nailed to the Cross. She was so totally focused on her Lord that nothing else mattered. Mary's gift of love was an act of true worship which was blessed by Our Lord and remembered for all time in Sacred Scripture. Whoa! What was viewed negatively by Judas was rewarded by God!
(O my Jesus, please help me with Your Grace to be more like Mary in my prayer-life. Please grant me the grace to focus only on You, Lord, so nothing else will matter. You know our hearts, Lord.)
During this special time of Holy Week, may we be more like Mary and set apart a "special time" for ourselves and our families at Our Lord Jesus' Sacred Feet under the sign of His Love for us - The Cross. Let us offer our personal gifts of thanksgiving for the priceless ransom He paid for us. "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13) Amen.