Islands, listen to me,
pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
He made my mouth a sharp sword,
and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow,
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)
in whom I shall be glorified’;
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing’;
and all the while my cause was with the Lord,
my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.
And now the Lord has spoken,
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
to gather Israel to him:
‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light of the nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’
John 13:21-33,36-38 ©
While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.
When he had gone Jesus said:
‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.
‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me,
And, as I told the Jews,
where I am going, you cannot come.’
Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’
While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me
What is betrayal?
Thesaurus defines it as “to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to”, amongst other definitions. Synonyms include falseness, deception, dishonesty, unfaithfulness.
We all know that Judas betrayed Jesus in the most extreme of ways: he delivered Jesus to the chief priests who later crucified him. Imagine how Jesus must have felt. Yes, Jesus did predict his betrayal by Judas, but knowing one thing and feeling it when it happens are quite distinct. Very often when we speak of betrayal we mean a betrayal of trust, and the disappointment that Jesus must have felt by a man who claimed to be his apostle must have been palpable.
Perhaps we may never have to suffer betrayal to such an extent as Jesus, but for some of us we might have experienced betrayal in loss of trust or expectation at some point in our lives, be it by friends, family, loved ones, colleagues. Let us reflect on how we felt at that time: first could have been disbelief, then anger and disappointment, followed by loss of respect for the person, and hurt. I would also venture an unwillingness to forgive, although over time we may learn to reconcile.
But enough about how we feel, what about how Jesus would feel if we were the ones who were the source of disappointment and hurt? Have we not done it to him before? Yes, we may not have been the ones to have planted the Judas kiss on Jesus, but when we were confirmed or baptized we made certain promises that we vowed to keep. We also promised to keep God’s commandments and to love one another. Have we taken God’s name in vain? Have we committed adultery, or borne false witness against someone, even by the seemingly “harmless” gossiping that we may partake in? We profess to follow God’s teachings, and at the sacrament of reconciliation we make the promise never to sin again because God is so good. What happens when then we do veer off the path and repeat that sin again? Do we then “press repeat” and go for reconciliation again? Do we take the sacrament of reconciliation seriously, or do we treat it lightly?
When we promise not to sin again, God gives us the grace for us to overcome our weaknesses and temptation to sin, but when we make that promise to God only to break it later, then that disappointment of God’s hope in us… would that not be akin to unfaithfulness on our part?
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Dear God, for all the times that we have failed You, we pray for Your mercy and Your forgiveness. We pray for salvation, and for Your saving grace that we may be strong enough never to sin again.
Thanksgiving: Thank you God for Your unending mercy and love for us. Despite that we are sinners, You loved us first. As people who love You God, we pray to keep our end of our promise to You.