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Archive for April 11th, 2017

art3_foto2Wednesday (April 12): The tragedy of the betrayal

Gospel Reading: Matthew 26:14-25

14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests  15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. 17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; 21 and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. 24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man  if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9

4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary.  Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear  to hear as those who are taught. 5 The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward. 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;  I hid not my face  from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded;  therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?  Let us stand up together.  Who is my adversary?  Let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty?  Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;  the moth will eat them up.

Meditation: Why did Judas betray his Master? Was his treachery motivated by greed, bitter disappointment with Jesus, or hatred because of disillusionment? It may be that Judas never intended for his Master to die. Maybe he thought Jesus was proceeding too slowly and not acting aggressively enough in setting up his messianic kingdom. Perhaps Judas wanted to force Jesus’ hand by compelling him to act. Nonetheless, his tragedy was his refusal to accept Jesus as he was.

The power of greed can only be overcome with the power of Christ’s love poured out for us
Origen (185-254 AD), a bible scholar and early church father, comments on Judas’ betrayal:

“Let us consider what Judas said to the Jewish priests: What will you give me if I hand him over to you? He was willing to take money in exchange for handing over the Word of God. They do the same thing who accept sensual or worldly goods in exchange for handing over and casting out from their souls the Savior and Word of truth who came to dwell with them. Indeed, it would be fitting to apply Judas’s example to all who show contempt for the Word of God and betray him, as it were, by committing sin for the sake of money or for any selfish motive. People who behave in this way appear openly to be calling out to the powers of the enemy who offer worldly gain in return for the sin of betraying God’s Word, saying, What will you give me if I hand him over to you? And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.The number of coins they gave Judas was equivalent to the number of years the Savior had sojourned in this world. For at the age of thirty, he was baptized and began to preach the gospel, like Joseph was thirty years old when he began to gather grain for his brothers (Genesis 41:46). Just as at that time the grain was prepared by God for the sons of Israel but given also to the Egyptians, so also the gospel was prepared for the saints but preached also to the unfaithful and wicked.” (Commentary on Matthew 78.)

The Lord will test our hearts to show us where we need his love and strength to do his will
Jesus knew beforehand what would befall him. As Jesus ate his last supper meal with his twelve apostles he put them under trial and suspicion (one of you will betray me) to teach them to examine themselves rightly, lest they be high-minded and think themselves more strong than they were. We, also must examine ourselves in the light of God’s truth and grace and ask him to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love that we may not fail him or forsake him when we are tempted. Do you pray with confidence in the words Jesus gave us to pray:Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13)?

“God our Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking. Strengthen our weakness, we beseech you, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for Jesus Christ’s sake.”  (Prayer of Thomas a Kempis)

Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31-34

8 I have become a stranger to my brethren, an alien to my mother’s sons.
9 For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
10 When I humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach.
21 They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
22 Let their own table before them become a snare; let their sacrificial feasts be a trap.
31 This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32 Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves therein.

A Daily Quote for Lent: God’s help for a complete conversion, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

“When we transform our old life and give our spirit a new image, we find it hard and tiring to turn back from the darkness of earthly passions to the serene calm of the divine light. We thus ask God to help us that a complete conversion may be brought about in us.” (excerpt from Confessions 10,4)

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Holy Tuesday, one of the days which the Church calls Great and Holy have within the liturgical development of the Holy Week a very definite purpose. They place all its celebrations in the perspective of End ; they remind us of the eschatological meaning of Pascha. …“Now is the Judgment of this world” (John 12:31). The Pascha of Jesus signified its end to “this world” and it has been at its end since then. This end can last for hundreds of centuries this does not alter the nature of time in which we live as the “last time.” “The fashion of this world passeth away…” (I Cor. 7:31).

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Daily Reading for Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

 

Reading 1, Isaiah 49:1-6

1 Coasts and islands, listen to me, pay attention, distant peoples. Yahweh called me when I was in the womb, before my birth he had pronounced my name.

2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, he hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow and concealed me in his quiver.

3 He said to me, ‘Israel, you are my servant, through whom I shall manifest my glory.’

4 But I said, ‘My toil has been futile, I have exhausted myself for nothing, to no purpose.’ Yet all the while my cause was with Yahweh and my reward with my God.

5 And now Yahweh has spoken, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him and to re-unite Israel to him;-I shall be honoured in Yahweh’s eyes, and my God has been my strength.-

6 He said, ‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I shall make you a light to the nations so that my salvation may reach the remotest parts of earth.’


Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17

1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put to shame.

2 In your saving justice rescue me, deliver me, listen to me and save me.

3 Be a sheltering rock for me, always accessible; you have determined to save me, for you are my rock, my fortress.

4 My God, rescue me from the clutches of the wicked, from the grasp of the rogue and the ruthless.

5 For you are my hope, Lord, my trust, Yahweh, since boyhood.

6 On you I have relied since my birth, since my mother’s womb you have been my portion, the constant theme of my praise.

15 My lips shall proclaim your saving justice, your saving power all day long.

16 I will come in the power of Yahweh to tell of your justice, yours alone.

17 God, you have taught me from boyhood, and I am still proclaiming your marvels.

 

Gospel, John 13:21-33, 36-38

21 Having said this, Jesus was deeply disturbed and declared, ‘In all truth I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.’

22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he meant.

23 The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus;

24 Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means,’

25 so leaning back close to Jesus’ chest he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’

26 Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give the piece of bread that I dip in the dish.’ And when he had dipped the piece of bread he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.

27 At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’

28 None of the others at table understood why he said this.

29 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.

30 As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. It was night.

31 When he had gone, Jesus said: Now has the Son of man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified.

32 If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

33 Little children, I shall be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.

36 Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Now you cannot follow me where I am going, but later you shall follow me.’

37 Peter said to him, ‘Why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’

38 ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘In all truth I tell you, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’

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