Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
After saying this, Jesus was distressed in spirit, and said plainly, “Truly, one of you will betray me.” The disciples then looked at one another, wondering whom he meant. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining near Jesus; so Simon Peter signaled him to ask Jesus whom he meant.
And the disciple, who was reclining near Jesus, asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “I shall dip a piece of bread in the dish, and he to whom I give it, is the one.”
So Jesus dipped the bread in the dish and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. As Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus then said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
None of the others, reclining at the table, understood why Jesus had said this to Judas. As Judas had the common purse, they may have thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or, “Give something to the poor.” Judas left as soon as he had eaten the bread. It was night.
When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. God will glorify him, and he will glorify him very soon.
My children, I am with you for only a little while; you will look for me, but as I already told the Jews, now I tell you: where I am going you cannot come.
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but afterwards you will.” Peter said, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I am ready to give my life for you.” “To give your life for me?” Jesus asked Peter. “Truly I tell you, the cock will not crow, before you have denied me three times.”
Today the Gospel tells us a sad moment in Jesus’ mission with his experience of a double betrayal—Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial! We can easily identify with betrayal when our trust is broken causing us moral and psychological conflict in our relationships. This becomes acutely painful when friends and loved ones from whom we expect trust, sincerity and respect are the source of betrayal. The experience of denial is similarly painful. Both are experiences of rejection. In Judas’ betrayal, we see that the suffering of life becomes more poignant and hurtful when those we have considered our friends turn against us. In Peter’s denial, we are reminded that fear and weakness can cause us to make terrible judgments and mistakes in our words and actions. Like Peter, we can deny Christ not only three times, but so many countless times if fear and moral weakness take over our hearts. Jesus’ offered friendship to Judas, which he subsequently rejected by going ahead with his evil plan. He offered forgiveness to Peter despite his denial, which he later realized as Jesus’ enduring love and acceptance of him. Jesus invites us to ponder these human realities and find him present in them.
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