April 12, 2022
Tuesday of Holy Week
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Gospel tells the sad story of Jesus’s betrayal by his closest friends.
“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.
Pope Francis, in his 2020 Palm Sunday homily, reflected on the depth of these betrayals:
Jesus suffered betrayal by the disciple who sold him and by the disciple who denied him. He was betrayed by the people who sang hosanna to him and then shouted: “Crucify him!” He was betrayed by the religious institution that unjustly condemned him and by the political institution that washed its hands of him.
We can think of all the small or great betrayals that we have suffered in life. It is terrible to discover that a firmly placed trust has been betrayed. From deep within our heart a disappointment surges up that can even make life seem meaningless. This happens because we were born to be loved and to love, and the most painful thing is to be betrayed by someone who promised to be loyal and close to us. We cannot even imagine how painful it was for God who is love.
These first three days of Holy Week are like the days in our lives when we know there is a wave of suffering coming but it hasn’t quite broken over us. Something just isn’t right in our bodies, minds, spirits, or in the world around us. In such times, the actual pain might be muted, but the fear, loneliness, anxiety and dark imaginations can be acute.
It’s hard to be with ourselves or with another in this kind of suffering. We see in our Gospel how hard it was for the disciples.
All one really has in such moments are the faith and trust that God ever abides with us. It is the kind of assurance Jesus had with the Father.
As we walk beside Jesus on this Fearful Tuesday, let us confide our sufferings, current or remembered, asking to be gracefully transformed by them. Let us listen to Jesus’s pain and heart-break, asking to be a source of comfort and love to Him.
With Jesus, may we carry in our prayer all those throughout the world suffering abandonment, fear, loss, or betrayal at this painful time.
Saint Judas – James Wright
When I went out to kill myself, I caught
A pack of hoodlums beating up a man.
Running to spare his suffering, I forgot
My name, my number, how my day began,
How soldiers milled around the garden stone
And sang amusing songs; how all that day
Their javelins measured crowds; how I alone
Bargained the proper coins, and slipped away.
Banished from heaven, I found this victim beaten,
Stripped, kneed, and left to cry. Dropping my rope
Aside, I ran, ignored the uniforms:
Then I remembered bread my flesh had eaten,
The kiss that ate my flesh. Flayed without hope,
I held the man for nothing in my arms.
Music: I Will Carry You – Sean Clive
You might hear this song in many ways. Perhaps Jesus comforts you with it. Or you might comfort Jesus in his escalating suffering. Or together, Jesus and you may sing it over a suffering world.
I will carry you when you are weak.
I will carry you when you can’t speak.
I will carry you when you can’t pray.
I will carry you each night and day.
I will carry you when times are hard.
I will carry you both near & far.
I’ll be there with you whenever you fall.
I will carry you through it all.
My arms are wider than the sky,
softer than a little child,
stronger than the raging,
calming like a gentle breeze.
Trust in me to hold on tight because
I will carry you when you can’t stand.
I’ll be there for you to hold your hand.
And I will show you that you’re never alone.
I will carry you and bring you back home.
Not pain, not fear, not death, no nothing at all
can separate you from my love.
My arms and hands will hold you close.
Just reach out and take them in your own.
Trust in me to hold on tight.
I will carry you.