Father James Swanson, LC
the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to
the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to
give me if I hand him over to you?"
They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from
that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand
him over. On the first day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Where do you want us to prepare for you to
eat the Passover?" He said, "Go into the city
to a certain man and tell him, ´The teacher says,
"My appointed time draws near; in your house I
shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples."´" The disciples
then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the
Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table
with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said,
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will
betray me." Deeply distressed at this, they began to say
to him one after another, "Surely it is not
I, Lord?" He said in reply, "He who has
dipped his hand into the dish with me is the
one who will betray me. The Son of Man
indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe
to that man by whom the Son of Man
is betrayed. It would be better for that man if
he had never been born." Then Judas, his betrayer,
said in reply, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?"
He answered, "You have said so."
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.
Jesus, help me to stay strong in my faith.
of the Twelve a Traitor? 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 greater matters.
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?
3. 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.
Resolution: 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.