The Judas story is frightening. We wonder how someone could be so cold, so cruel, so callous to someone they claimed to love and promised to follow. I think the story is so challenging for us because we know how hard it is to be in relationships with others, to keep our promises, to remain positive and supportive during difficult times. It forces us to recognize the times that we fail to be a faithful friend to others.
The first reading offers us comfort. It reminds us that God has chosen us to be in a special relationship with Him. “The Lord called me from birth, ‘You are my servant, He said to me, Israel, through whom I show My glory.’” God has a special purpose for each one of us and wants us to do His work, that is, show His love to those around us. This is the way Jesus called His disciples, each one of them to be His friends, to do His important work. Each had a special purpose and a relationship with Jesus.
The Gospel reminds us that sometimes the closest relationships can be complicated and hard. We sometimes hurt one another and cause suffering. John writes, “Jesus was deeply troubled,” knowing that His friend Judas was going to betray Him and that Peter was going to deny Him. Jesus must have cared very much for Judas for his betrayal to cause Him such deep sorrow.
During Holy Week, let us reflect on the relationships in our lives that we may be neglecting. We are called by God to be His loving servants. Let us serve God this Lenten season by seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt, by showing patience to those who need special care and by spending time with those who need our love the most.
Lord, be with me when I struggle in my relationships. Help me to recognize You in the people in my life.
Becky Fontana, ‘99, Member of the Worshipping Community
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-4a, 5-6ab, 15, 17
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website