Holy Week Wednesday April 13, 2022
Isa 50:4-9/Psa 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34/Matt 26:14-25
Praise the Lord! Dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ,
Today is the Wednesday of the Holy Week. Holy Mother Church gives us a reading from the Book of Prophet Isaiah. This reading contains one of the four Servant Songs where the sufferings of the Servant are mentioned. Everything comes with a cost. One has to pay a big prize also for being a servant of God. To remain faithful to the Lord at all times and especially in times of times of trials and tribulations is not easy. But the prophet seems to be courageous when he says that he did not offer any resistance and willingly offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who stuck me. The reason for doing so is the strong and unshakable belief that the Lord is with him. Urged by the same conviction, the Psalmist in Ps 68 raises his pleas, “In your great love, O Lord, answer, answer my prayers for your favour.
Yesterday we listened to the Johannine account of Jesus at the Last Supper and the announcement regarding Judas’ betrayal. In today’s Gospel, we listen to the Matthean account of the Passover and the betrayal of Judas Iscariot. Before even Jesus could announce that one of the Twelve would betray him, Judas Iscariot begins the process of betrayal by reaching out to the chief priests and negotiates the price for the betrayal. St. Matthew the Evangelist says that he was looking for an opportunity to betray his Master Jesus. In the depth of his heart, Jesus feels that the time to suffer has come near. The disciples are also greatly distressed to know the one of their own would betray Jesus. It was unacceptable for them. Unlike the Johannine Jesus, Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew is more human. He calls the event of betrayal something unfortunate and it could have been better if that man was not born at all. the humanness of Jesus is predominant over here.
Some of us may raise a question as to why the account of Matthew is so different from the Johannine account. Johannine Jesus approaches the end of his Jesus like a King who is in supreme power over all that is happening around him. He is more divine than human while Matthean Jesus approaches the Holy Week more as a human person. That is why he would undergo torments in Gethsemane and cry out to God to remove the cup of suffering and once again on the cross, he would raise a loud cry of abandonment. These are different ways of looking at Jesus’ passion. These days we have 3D views of a person in photographs or in medical science, the doctors wish to look at the internal organs of the human persons in 3 dimensional views before conducting any operation. The evangelists had 4D views. But heart of heart, Jesus was always aware of the purpose for which he was born. He knew that his death was not the end of the road but a new and fresh beginning not only for him but for the entire universe. Human history is not the same since then!
A few salient features of the Matthean version of the Gospel are the following:
- The decision and initiative to betray Jesus comes entirely from Judas Iscariot. It is he who takes courage and goes to the chief priests to negotiate the process as to where and when he would betray Jesus and how much he would be paid for the same.
- We can always raise a question as to what made Judas Iscariot do such a heinous crime against Jesus. There was no personal enmity between Jesus and Judas. May be he expected Jesus to liberate the people of Israel but that never happened. May be Judas thought that Jesus is betrayed, he would get angry and begin the process of a rebellion. It is true that he had weakness for money. But then willing to betray the Master for a meager amount such as 30 pieces of silver coin sounds more foolish. One does not expect Judas to do it for a small amount.
- A sinner woman who loved Jesus was willing to spend 300 denarii while a close follower of Jesus and that too one of the Twelve betraying Jesus for 30 silver coins which is the price of a slave at the time of Jesus, demonstrates lack of love and respect for the Master.
- The influence of the devil could have been there too. One thing is certain, if we are under the influence of the devil, we will not hesitate to do whatever we want in order to achieve our personal goals, and
- Finally, we may have to surrender and confess that everything happened as per the will of God.
We have to earnestly pray that we will never come under the clutches of evil power and that ask for the grace of God to live a life in accordance with the will of God.
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