Endings and Betrayal – Wednesday

It was on the evening of the last Tuesday before Calvary that Jesus, before lying down to sleep on the Mount of Olives, talked so mysteriously of the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world. It may very well be that he was at the end of his own public ministry too. There is no suggestion that he came into the Temple on Wednesday. We get nothing at all about the happenings of Wednesday, except as they concern Judas. Matthew and Mark, indeed, tell the story of the anointing with the precious ointment from the alabaster box, and the protest by Judas so instantly dismissed by his master, immediately before telling of the betrayal which took place on the Wednesday. One imagines that Matthew and Mark put the story here in order to link Judas’s resentment at the public rebuke with his betrayal of Christ, which did take place on the Wednesday. There was indeed a connection between the two, but there had been four days between, to allow the resentment to fester. (from To Know Christ Jesus by F.J. Sheed, pp. 345-346)

Back up to Tuesday evening to reflect on Jesus giving one of his longest and most mysterious discourses. Read Matthew 24 and 25; Mark 13; Luke 21: 5-37. We know at the very least Peter, James, John, and Andrew were present for His words. Sheed’s commentary on this discourse is admittedly sketchy. He follows mainly Matthew’s telling and points out the first forty-four verses of chapter 24 as having two main themes – one, the Destruction of Jerusalem and two, the End of the World, with the coming of Christ linked to one or the other. Jesus follows these themes with the admonition that each of us must be prepared for our own death, the end of our own private and particular world.

There are those who think Jesus was speaking of his coming at the end of the world to judge all mankind. There are those who think he was speaking of his coming to a new level of activity in his kingdom on earth. Perhaps he meant both; the one fundamentally related to the other, the same principles in operation in each. (p.344)

When speaking in relation to the end of our own lives, Jesus relates the parable of the five wise and the five foolish maidens. The point here is one we are all familiar with – we should always be ready for the coming of Christ to us, for we never know when that moment will come. In Mt 9:15, Jesus spoke of himself of the bridegroom, and he does it here again in this parable. To any Jew, what he was claiming was quite unmistakeable – for God himself was Israel’s bridegroom (note Is 54:6) (p.345) There is an urgency for us to be in a state of grace at all times, that we may be capable of banqueting with him at any moment.

It is also interesting to note that in the last sixteen verses of Matthew 25, when Jesus is telling of the Judgement, it is the first time that Jesus speaks of himself as “the king”.

Forward now to Wednesday and the telling of the betrayal. Read Mt 26: 3-13, Mk 14: 1-10, Luke 22: 1-6

What moved Judas to the act which ensured that his name would be known till the world ends? – even enemies of Christ automatically call a traitor “Judas.” “Satan entered into him” (Lk 22:3) – which is consoling, as far as it goes; to see Satan bringing about the death which would be his own destruction is a reminder that he is not omniscient and can make the most startling misjudgments as to his own best interests. Apart from that we have Judas’ resentment at the curt dismissal of his protest; and we have John telling us that he was a thief, who handled – and therefore, one presumes, had mishandled – the small funds of the apostles.

All the same he remains profoundly mysterious…The truth is that there is too much about Judas – the man of Kerioth, the only non-Galilean among the Twelve – that we do not know. So long before, Jesus had seen something in him that has not been shown to us, when he said (Jn 6:71), “I have chosen you Twelve, and one of you is a devil.” (p.346-347)




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Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Easter, Holy Week, Spiritual Reading

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