An anonymous post on Facebook recently read, ‘The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.’ A challenging question arises, ‘Will you still love even if you are hurt?’ Betrayal is probably one of the worst things that can happen in a relationship. Betrayal breaks trust and trust is not easy to restore. Has someone betrayed you? Have you betrayed another?
Today is Spy Wednesday, called because of the actions of Judas Iscariot. Sadly, betrayal in relationship with God, self and with others is part of the sinful nature of humankind. God loves each one unconditionally.
The reading proclaimed at Mass today (Is 50:4-9) is taken from the prophet Isaiah. On reflection one asks, ‘Who is the prophet talking about, himself or another?’ The prophets in the Old Testament endured cruelty, suffering and rejection from others because they loved God. They wanted to do what God asked of them. These prophets heard the call of God and they knew their mission was to speak God’s word. The people did not like the prophets’ messages and they tried to suppress them and kill them. God asks each prophet to listen to his word like a disciple and to proclaim it. Because the prophet was obedient, ‘he made no resistance to those who struck him and pulled at his beard.’ What Isaiah describes is a foretaste of what will happen to Jesus, as he faces his trial and death on Calvary. The language is violent. In the face of violence, the prophet did not rebel. The prophet knows in his heart that ‘the Lord is coming to my [his] help.’
Prophets speak the voice of God today, but many people choose to ignore what they hear. For some years now, the people of the world hear regularly of the damage humankind by its lifestyle causes the planet. Pope Francis prompts the world to take note of the destructive forces damaging the environment. He calls for an eco-conversion. His message to the whole world in Laudato Si’ is an enlightening document instructing care for our common home. Are God’s people prepared to listen to the prophets today? God calls each one to be a prophetic voice to speak God’s word. Are the people of the world prepared to undergo an eco-conversion as the Pope challenges them to hear the cries of the poor, to save the planet and God’s creation?
The psalmist (Ps 68) commits his life to God. He is prepared to suffer the taunts and the shame. He burns ‘with zeal for your [God’s] house.’ The psalmist will praise God’s name and give thanks because he trusts in God. The assembly answers, ‘In your great love, O Lord, answer my prayer for your favour.’
The Gospel (Mt 26:14-25) read at Mass today proclaims the betrayal of Jesus by Peter. Judas went to the chief priests and asked them what they were prepared to give him if he handed Jesus over to them. They paid him thirty pieces of silver. Judas awaited an opportunity to betray him.
Meanwhile, Jesus instructed the disciples to go and prepare the Passover. That evening, the disciples were at table with Jesus and he confronted them saying, one of them was to betray him. They were distressed as they wondered who was going to do that. In turn, they asked ‘Not I surely?’ Judas also asked that question. Jesus said to Judas, ‘They are your own words’.
Jesus knew what was in Judas’ mind. Judas chose to betray Jesus in spite of Jesus calling him to be one of his twelve apostles. Judas considered 30 pieces of silver were worth more to him than his friendship and commitment to Jesus. There were consequences for Judas and Jesus.
Jesus also knows what is in our mind better than we know ourselves. That is why we pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us in God’s ways. God gives us free will and stands ready to forgive our sins. Towards the end of Lent, we reflect on the ritual of Ash Wednesday and the words ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel.’ Our Lenten journey for 2021 is almost at a close. We thank God.
VERITAS publications offers free online resources for Holy Week in all standards of the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme available at:
- Pray the Prayers to the Holy Spirit/ Paidreacha chuig an Spiorad Naomh
- Pray the Act of Faith/Gníomh Creidimh
- Pray the Act of Sorrow/ Gníomh Dóláis
- From your Bible or from your Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book for Sixth Class read ‘Jesus Eats the Passover Meal with his Disciples’ (Mt 26:20-30) and ‘The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus’ (Lk 22:47-53)
- Read the poem ‘Remember’ from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book for Fourth Class ‘AT HOME’ page, p. 57
- From the Grow in Love programme for Fifth Class, watch ‘The Summons’.
- What might God be summoning you to do?
- Check out the times of the Easter ceremonies on the webcam from the local parish Church during Holy Week. Consider which ones you will attend and invite your family to join you
- It will be soon time to return your Trócaire box to the Church… Read the stories of the suffering families on the box and consider donating some of your pocket money to help people in need.
Sr Anne Neylon