Gospel: Mt 26:14–27:66
Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “How much will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver; and from then on, he kept looking for the best way to hand Jesus over to them.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Jesus answered, “Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him, ‘The Master says: My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples in your house.’”
The disciples did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you: one of you will betray me.” They were deeply distressed, and they asked him, one after the other, “You do not mean me, do you, Lord?” He answered, “The one who dips his bread with me will betray me. The Son of Man is going as the Scriptures say he will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man: better for him not to have been born.” Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “You do not mean me, Master, do you?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said a blessing and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take and eat: this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and gave thanks, and passed it to them, saying, “Drink this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Yes, I say to you: From now on I will not taste the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink new wine with you in my Father’s kingdom.” After singing psalms of praise, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will falter tonight because of me, and all of you will fall. For Scripture says: I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered. But after my resurrection, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter responded, “Even though all stumble and fall, I will never fall away!” Jesus replied, “Truly I say to you: this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said, “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the disciples said the same thing. Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him, and he began to be overwhelmed by anguish and distress. And he said to them, “My soul is full of sorrow, even to death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” He went a little farther and fell to the ground, with his face touching the earth, and prayed, “Father, if it is possible, take this cup away from me. Yet, not what I will, but what you will.” He went back to his disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter, “Could you not stay awake with me for one hour? Stay awake and pray, so that you may not fall into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away again, and prayed, “Father, if this cup cannot be taken away from me without my drinking it, your will must be done.” When he came back to his disciples, he, again, found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. So leaving them again, Jesus went to pray for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came back to his disciples and said to them, “You can sleep on now and take your rest! The hour has come, and the Son of Man will be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go! See, the betrayer is here!” Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, who had been sent by the chief priests and the elders of the people. The traitor had given them a sign: “The one I kiss, he is the man; arrest him!” Judas went directly to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they laid hands on Jesus, and arrested him.
One of those who were with Jesus drew his sword, and struck at the servant of the High Priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword. Do you not know that I could call on my Father, and he would at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? If Scripture says that these things must be, should Scripture not be fulfilled?”
At that hour, Jesus said to the crowd, “Why do you come to arrest me with swords and clubs, as if I were a robber? Day after day, I sat among you, teaching in the temple, yet, you did not arrest me. But all this has happened in fulfillment of what the Prophets said.” Then all his disciples deserted Jesus and fled.
Those who had arrested Jesus took him to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas, where the teachers of the law and the elders were assembled.
Peter followed Jesus at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the High Priest; he entered and sat with the guards, waiting to see the end.
The chief priests and the whole Supreme Council needed some false evidence against Jesus, so that they might put him to death. But they were unable to find any, even though false witnesses came forward. At last, two men came forward and declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
The High Priest stood up and asked Jesus, “What is the evidence against you? Have you no answer to the things they testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent.
So the High Priest said to him, “In the name of the living God, I command you to tell us: Are you the Messiah, the Son of God?” Jesus answered, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you: from now on, you will see the Son of Man, seated at the right hand of God most powerful, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the High Priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has blasphemed. What more evidence do we need? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?” They answered, “He must die!”
Read: The Passion of the Lord. The self-emptying–kenosis-of the God of love for filling in humanity with His goodness. Godly heart that can take in human betrayal and in return give of Himself to nourish us.
Reflect: Who do I resemble more in my daily living—Jesus, Judas, Other disciples, or Chief priests?
Pray: Pray the Divine Chaplet of Mercy.
Act: Forgive someone who has hurt you deeply.