Unmasking the Betrayer
Wednesday of Holy Week
by Father James Swanson, LC | Source: Catholic.net
Lord Jesus, I wish to accompany you closely on the road to Calvary. If I were to
contemplate you more often as you hang scourged and bloody upon the cross, I’m certain I would be
able to rest in your love and base my actions on that one truth. I know that you have loved me with
an eternal love: you have proven it there on the wood of the cross. So I long to respond with
gratitude, peace and the firm determination to spread your love to everyone.
Lord Jesus, help me to stay strong in my faith.
1. One of the Twelve a
We often think that Judas must have been different, obviously worse than the
other disciples. If that were true, everyone would have suspected him when Jesus said, "One of you
will betray me." They would have thought: "It must be Judas. He's always been bad. He's capable of
betraying Jesus. I don't know why Jesus picked him." Instead, Judas did not stand out as any worse
than they were. If he did, they would have immediately suspected him. Each one of us, as well, could
become a Judas little by little, first by giving up our principles on smaller matters and then later
on more important matters. In the Christian life there always needs to be a healthy tension of
straining forward and of watchfulness. The one who is trustworthy in small matters is trustworthy in
2. Is It I? The apostles are all asking, "Is it I?" Why?
Was there some widespread desire to betray him of which they were barely keeping control? No,
but they were in a very dangerous situation. The Pharisees had decided to kill Jesus. The apostles
know it. That's why the whole group had gone to stay in Jericho for a while. Jerusalem was too
dangerous. They can imagine themselves following Jesus to the Temple the next day, being singled out
in the crush of the crowd and then having their life threatened to provide information about where
Jesus can be found at night. They wonder what they would say. With my life on the line would I
betray Jesus? This is why they ask, "Is it I?" When push comes to shove, what comes first in my
life? Would I ever consider selling out on Jesus for something or someone else?
Vigilance of the Heart:
Judas had everything he needed to be a great apostle. He had a
magnanimous heart, which is why Jesus picked him. God never destines anyone for failure. So what
happened to him? At some point he stopped working on his friendship with Jesus. Some would point to
the moment of the discourse on the Bread of Life recorded in John 6. Judas couldn't accept that he
needed to eat Jesus' body and drink his blood. Jesus must be wrong, and therefore he is a false
Messiah. John 6:64 tells us that Jesus knew who his betrayer would be. Jesus gives Judas a chance to
leave the group and remain an honest man in John 6:67. Instead, he stays, becoming a hypocrite – a
"devil" in Jesus' words – and begins the path that will lead to betrayal. Knowing that my faith is
the most precious gift I have received from God, do I watch over and nourish my faith so that it
grows and is strong?
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, I have
betrayed you so many times, even when I do such a simple thing as not saying grace in a restaurant
out of fear that others will realize I am a Catholic. May the experience of your Passion and death
help me to have the courage to live by my convictions at all times.
Today I will live all the demands of my faith, especially in the moments when they point me out
as a follower of Christ. Today I will not betray him, even in the smallest way.
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