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Jill RiceApril 04, 2023
The Kiss of Judas by Luca Giordano. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Reflection for Tuesday of Holy Week

Find today’s readings here.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (Jn 13:21)

Today’s Gospel is one we all know well. Jesus reclines at table with the Twelve and tells them that one of them will betray him, the one to whom he hands the morsel. I have a tendency to look at what Judas is about to do and judge him harshly for it—he is betraying the Son of God who is his friend and whom he has followed for years. It’s not like he is a random Roman centurion who stands watch as Jesus is crucified; he has made this decision with the knowledge of who Jesus is, of his mercy and forgiveness, of his fulfillment of the prophecies of old.

But when Jesus says “one of you will betray me,” I fear he should have said more than just “one” of you—”all of you will betray me” is much more accurate. We all turn away at one point or another. We all have much more in common with Judas than we hope. Even Peter, who holds the keys to the kingdom, denies Jesus three times in quick succession that night.

Maybe I shouldn’t be judging Judas as harshly for betraying our Lord, mostly because I and all of us have done so before. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

We know that due to our tendency to sin, we, who, like Judas, know and love Jesus as a friend and savior, will betray him at some point. For every person except Mary, it’s an inevitability. And since it is something every one of us faces, maybe I shouldn’t be judging Judas as harshly for betraying our Lord, mostly because I and all of us have done so before. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

The Catechism reminds us that it is not the fault of “the Jews” (an amorphous group of people who extend from before Jesus’ time to today) that Jesus died, but the fault of all sinners, meaning us (598). Instead of blaming others, we have to take responsibility for our actions that crucify Jesus every day: our sins. We are those who have betrayed Jesus, just as Judas did.

However, all is not lost. This week, we look forward to what will come on the seventh day: the Resurrection and the salvation of all the world. Although we betray and deny Jesus, we can repent of our sins and turn back to him again and again.

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