Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashions. But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried 'away with him! Crucify him!' - Pope Benedict XVI
Gospel Text: (JN 13:21-33, 36-38)
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus' side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus' chest and said to him,
"Master, who is it?"
"It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it."
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
"Buy what we need for the feast,"
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, Jesus said,
"Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you."
Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?"
Jesus answered him,
"Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later."
Peter said to him,
"Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you."
Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times."
Today we hear the infamous promise of Saint Peter: “Why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!” Our Lord knows that Peter’s promise is one that he is too weak to keep. Yet does Jesus disown Peter? In this we see the Lord’s love for us. Despite the weakness of his followers, Jesus does not abandon his intention to carry out His Father’s Will. Jesus still is willing to carry the Cross, for you in the same way as for Saint Peter, and even for Judas Iscariot.
Perhaps the most striking action in today’s Gospel is Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Our Lord. Jesus knows Judas better than Judas knows himself. Jesus knew that He would have to be betrayed in order to accept the Cross. But Jesus also knew that after his betrayal, Judas would refuse to turn back to the Lord for forgiveness.
Certainly Judas’ betrayal was more serious than Peter’s, but nonetheless Judas could have turned back to Jesus afterwards, and would have found in Jesus a merciful Redeemer. When Jesus said, “…later on you shall come after me,” these words could have applied to Judas as to any of the other apostles. It was Judas’ own choice to hang himself which prevented him from following after Our Lord. Pray that in our sins, we will always turn to our loving Redeemer.
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