The word betray is used five times in today’s gospel. Have you ever experienced betrayal – perhaps you were let down by a friend or a partner, or perhaps like many Catholics today you feel let down by the Church? How did you react? Did you retaliate, walk away or do your best to forgive?
This part of the Holy Week highlights the depth of love that Jesus shows. He goes to his fate, but he is loyal all the way. He does not retaliate, no matter how shamefully he is treated. He is filled with a higher love – a divine love – which keeps him going. Jesus is the ultimate example of greatness in heart and we would never want to betray him, but like the disciples, we often do.
Holy Week is an invitation to walk closely with Jesus. We fix our gaze on Him and walk with Him in His suffering and we let him look closely at us and see us as we really are. We do not have to present a brave face to Him but can tell Him about where we have been disappointed, let down, and even betrayed. We can avoid getting stuck in our own circumstances by seeing as He sees and learning from the greatness of His heart.
When we look at Judas, we see him fearfully betraying Jesus. But Jesus’ heart goes out to the disciples in their moments of weakness. God is triumphant in all sorts of weakness in our lives if we can let Him be the strength in our weakness and sinfulness.
When I look at the disciples in the Scriptures for Holy Week, I can recognise myself in them – some share their faith, some do as they are asked, some simply do what others do, some disappear in the moment of crisis.
Although He saw that he might be betrayed, Jesus did not turn from the disciples or from giving himself to them. He did not let their distress silence Him but spoke the truth to them, knowing it would be unwelcome.
How will you fix your eyes on Him today? How will you allow Him to look closely at you and see you as you truly are? You can be assured that Jesus’ heart goes out to you even in your weakest moment and wants to fill you with His strength.
PRAYER: Lord, here I am. This is me in all my imperfections and I need you today. Help me to see how you do not condemn those who betray you and do the same in my life. You invite me to follow you willingly, freely and forgiven. May I learn to speak truth even when it seems to be unwelcome, and may my heart reflect your heart. Amen