Matthew 26:14-25 NRSVue
14Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
17On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ” 19So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
20When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve disciples, 21and while they were eating he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” 25Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”
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Some thoughts on this scripture
It is Spy Wednesday - poor Judas, for ever remembered as the betrayer. His greatest mistake was not that he betrayed Jesus, but that he had no confidence in the Lord's mercy and in his own power to recover from that betrayal, as Peter did.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you, no matter what I have done.
‘See how the divinity hides itself’ is a suggestion of Saint Ignatius in praying over the passion of Jesus. There is dignity but little divinity obvious at the last supper. The weakness of humanity in body will be the focus of much of the next few hours in the life of Jesus. Pain, torture, indignity and death await him. Prayer these days enters into the suffering of Jesus, and with Jesus into his suffering today in his people, especially in pain, torture, indignity and death inflicted by others.
‘Thirty pieces of silver' has been a negative phrase ever since. It's a way of saying a person was cheated or betrayed. Jesus suffered this much in his passion. Our prayer can be simply to be with him in his suffering, trying to feel as he felt, to think as he thought. We are invited in our prayer in the Passion to see how the divinity hides itself. The man of suffering is the God who still suffers the pain, injustices, greed and betrayal of his people today. God is not impervious to our suffering.
I ask for compassion for all who, like Judas, have been brought to a point of denial. I linger on the response of Jesus during these days of his trial.
Aware of my own fragility, I ask Jesus for the strength that I need to give witness to his spirit in difficult moments.