Tuesday of Holy Week, Apr 7

Isaiah 49:1-6 / John 13:21-33, 36-38 
Jesus talks about betrayal: The disciples were amazed at Jesus’ words.

The surprising thing about Judas’ plan to betray Jesus is that the other disciples had no idea of it. How could they have lived so close to Judas and been so blind to what was going on in his mind? There are two lessons here.
First, our external words and actions may deceive others, but they will never deceive God.
Second, the day will come when everyone will know what is in our heart. For it is a law of human nature that what is in our heart will eventually usher forth into action. Do we really believe that God knows our innermost thoughts?
What effect ought this to have on us? “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” l Samuel 16:7
It is rather amazing as well disturbing to see how cold and calculating Judas was at the Last Supper. In the gospel passage that we heard (the gospel of John), there was no recorded words of Judas. He didn't say anything, he acted normal, he did what he was told. Yet, behind and beneath that facade the shadows of betrayal are lurking and slithering around. Yet for that to be happening in him during the Last Supper was unthinkable to the rest because it was for them the sacred Passover meal which celebrated the marvelous event of freedom from slavery in Egypt and the renewal of God's covenant with His people.

Jesus sensed that betrayal and treachery, and troubled in spirit, He said: I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me. He was even more direct when He said that it was the one to whom He gave the piece of bread that He shall dip in the dish, and thereafter He gave it to Judas.

Judas was the Apostle most in need of Jesus' love that night.  It was the last opportunity for Judas to turn from sin and turn to Jesus. But he rejected Jesus for the final time.

Instead of softening Judas' heart the gesture seemed to harden it and thereby he gave himself completely over into Satan's power.

As for ourselves, we cannot say that there is no sin in us. Every sin is a betrayal of the love of Jesus for us and to receive Holy Communion with a grave sin is as bad as what happened to Judas after he had taken the piece of bread from Jesus - the devil enters into the heart.

So let us take the Sacrament of Reconciliation seriously and resolve to stay clean of sin and keep united with Jesus in Holy Communion. Let us be true to Jesus, so that we can be true to ourselves and to others.

Today's gospel presents three persons to us.
The first is a man preoccupied with himself, his own interests and needs, his selfish satisfaction. He is not a free person; he is not open to Christ, for he serves money and greed. He will betray Jesus. This man is Judas.
Then there is a second man, a good person, open to Christ, but weak. He tries to hide his frailty with impetuous, self-reliant bravery. He cracks in the hour of the test. He will deny Jesus. This person is Peter.
The third person is Jesus. He is totally unselfish, completely open to God and to everyone. He is the perfect servant, the person-for-others, described again today in the first reading in the words of the second song of God's servant. And because he was the perfect servant he could save us all.

Penitential Rite:
- The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name, as you call us for your service, LHM
- The Lord made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm, as you call as to be your fearless prophets, CHM
- Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. As you make us realize our real reward comes from the Lord and not from people, LHM

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, your Son Jesus Christ had to undergo the humiliation of being betrayed and denied by those he called his friends. But he made his suffering and death into instruments of love and reconciliation. Make us with him people-for-others, who accept difficulties, even betrayals and misunderstanding of our best intentions, and turn them into sources of life and joy for those around us. Keep us faithful to you and to one another through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus is the sharp-edged arrow, concealed in God's arm; the servant of God. And God will show his glory through him. Jesus will obey God's word even in the face of rejection and resistance, persecution, suffering, and death. This is Jesus' holiness and power that we are invited to know and share. Jesus sought to tell his disciples (and us) that one of them would betray him. They would all run in fear, but one would sell him to his enemies. But Jesus does not attack Judas. He only tells him that he knows what he is going to do-just as Jesus knows what we do in betraying him in our fear, our greed, our trying to follow both our own ways and the ways of the world. And still we call ourselves the followers of Jesus the Crucified One.
But Jesus declares that his time of glory (God's glory) has come, and that God will glorify him in his suffering and death-not because it is pain, but because he is faithful no matter what others do to him. Peter brashly proclaims that he too will lay down his life for Jesus, but Jesus tells him that he will be betrayed by Peter three times before the night is done. And who are we: Judas, Peter, the other disciples, all of whom act in fear, thinking of themselves only, and not of Jesus? This year, where are we when Jesus looks at us?

Points to Ponder
The servant’s disappointment
Betrayal in the life of Jesus
The denial of Peter
Human disappointment; a test of faith.

General Intercessions
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son to save us and bring us life by his death and resurrection. Let us pray to Jesus for all who suffer and say: Lord, by your cross you have redeemed the world.
- For those whose ideals have faded, that they may still see and accept the novelty of life and constantly renew themselves, we pray:
- For the perpetual losers of their personal struggles against the forces of evil, that they may trust in Christ, whose grace is mightier than sin and death, we pray:
- For those who are lonely, deserted, or shut up within themselves, that they may accept the companionship of Christ and through him open themselves to others, we pray:
- For all of us, that we may learn from our Lord himself to bear our crosses in patience and humility, that somehow they may bring life to us and to our neighbor, we pray:
- For this community, that with Jesus our Savior it may be poor and serving and open to all needs, we pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, your cross remains to us a mystery, as does all pain and want. Yet we rely on your word and example that it is a way to joy and freedom. Turn our crosses into bearers of happiness and life now and forever.

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, loving Father, the evening before he gave up himself to death, your Son Jesus gave himself to his friends in the form of bread to be eaten and a cup of wine to be shared. As we are gathered here for his holy meal, let your Son give himself again to us that we may learn from him to give ourselves for one another
and that our strength to do so may come from Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Our God and Father, we have eaten the bread of faithfulness
at the table of Jesus, your Son. We too have at times betrayed him
when we broke our friendship with you and when we denied to our neighbor the right to be happy and free. From now on, let him be our strength in bringing justice and dignity to even the last and least of our brothers and sisters and in building up together your community of joy and hope, in which lives Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord for ever and ever.

The Turning Point:
The turning point lies dead ahead;
A moment's pause to make or break.
Each act affords an inch to flinch;
A time to ask can grace replace
The urges which betray His Way.
His strength awaits your best request;
Unless you ask, the sin will win.
The choice is clear - to call or fall.

All-powerful God, keep me from the evil which attracts me so. At the moment of temptation, I will call out to you and you will answer. Show me your path and give me the strength to follow it. Amen.