Tuesday of Holy Week
Isaiah 49:1-6 + John 13:21-33,36-38
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
On the last two days of Lent before the Sacred Triduum starts, the Gospel Reading focuses on Judas Iscariot. Yet while tomorrow’s passage from Matthew looks solely at Judas, today’s passage from John also looks at Peter, another apostle who will betray Jesus.
Jesus is God. As a divine person, He could at any moment during Holy Week have turned away from the path leading to Calvary. Even on the afternoon of Good Friday as He hung upon the Cross, He could have miraculously escaped, transporting Himself far away to safety: indeed, even to Heaven.
All that is to say that Jesus is the primary “actor” in the drama of Holy Week. The acts that Jesus did or did not carry out during Holy Week determined man’s salvation. Any other “actor” within this drama is a second-string player.
Why, then, do the Gospel Readings today and tomorrow focus more upon those who betrayed Jesus than on Our Savior Himself? The answer is that the Church is calling you to recognize yourself in Judas and Peter.
In the sinful persons of Judas and Peter we witness two different types of betrayal: Judas by deed, Peter by word; Judas with a kiss, Peter by turning his back. Judas cries, “Hail, Rabbi!”, while Peter cries, “I do not know the man!”
There are many different ways in our lives by which we betray Jesus. But there is only one way for the chasm between our sins and God’s love to be bridged, and that is Jesus’ self-sacrifice upon the Cross.