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Wednesday of Holy Week, Apr 8th

Isaiah 50:4-9 / Matthew 26:14-25 
Jesus speaks about his betrayer: Judas said, “Surely it is not I?”

Judas was able to conceal his plan from the other disciples, but he wasn’t able to conceal it from Jesus. And this allows us to see how Jesus deals with sinners. One of the greatest mysteries of life is the tremendous respect God has for the free will of people. Jesus didn’t force sinners to change their lives. Rather, he invited them to change. He appealed to them to change. At every step of the way, Jesus dealt the same way with Judas. He made Judas the treasurer of the group. He invited him to eat the Last Supper, just as he did the others.
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How open are we to Jesus’ invitation to change our lives for the better?  “Love is the only force that can make things one without destroying them.” Teilhard de Chardin

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In a battlefield scenario, the decision to fight or to take flight depends almost on one factor - the strength and the size of the enemy.

No soldier in a normal state of mind would go into battle to face certain death or decide to die on the battle field, except maybe those kamikaze pilots of WWII.

But whether soldier or pauper, in the face of certain death, the most obvious thing would be to take flight, to flee, so as to live and fight another day.

For Jesus, He knew He was going to face certain death. On top of that He was also going to be betrayed by one of His disciples. It would be better for Him to flee and take flight and forget about it all.

But as He said in the gospel, "the Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will". So, there is no option of fleeing or taking to flight.

But it was not some suicide mission or that He was obsessed about dying. For Jesus it was a battle with evil and He was prepared to take its full force.

The 1st reading gives us an insight into the mind of Jesus as He prepares to face His suffering and death - "For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard. I did not cover my face against insult and spittle".

But in the battle against evil, Jesus was not alone. And neither are we. Because the 1st reading says this - "The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So I set my face like flint, I know I shall not be shamed".

Jesus showed us how to face and fight evil. He was victorious against it. So will we when we stand by Him especially in the next few days of the Holy Triduum.
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LITURGY


 "MY TIME IS NEAR" 

Introduction 
Today we hear the bad news of the betrayal of Judas, together with the sad yet joyous good news of Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples. “My time is near. I will keep the Passover with my disciples.” Jesus will eat the Passover meal surrounded by those who have followed him. The traitor leaves them to betray Jesus. But Jesus, the Servant of God and people, faces his death with the fullest trust in God. Jesus will celebrate this Passover in a new way making it the Eucharist. This is like a testament he leaves his disciples. It is the deepest way he is going to stay among his disciples then and now. 

Penitential Rite
- I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother's sons, LHM
- I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for consolers, not one could I find, CHM
- And yet, I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving, LHM

Opening Prayer 
God our Father, when the hour of your Son Jesus had come to accept suffering and death out of love of you and his saving love for us, he did not refuse that suffering and deep pain. In the hour of trial that we may have to pass through, do not let us become rebellious but keep us trusting in you, for you save us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Commentary 
Often termed “Spy Wednesday” because of the biblical account of Judas’s betrayal, the Gospel narrative is accompanied by the third song of the servant. As he continues his mission, the servant meets with greater trials, this time, in terms of physical abuse. While never backing away from his call, the servant recounts beatings, buffeting, and spitting. All of this notwithstanding, he continues resolutely on his path, always confident of Yahweh’s continued assistance. In the Matthean Gospel narrative, Judas bargains with the Jewish leaders and receives the notorious thirty pieces of silver, the price given to the rejected shepherd in Zechariah. The treachery of Judas is compounded by the fact that he later sits with Jesus at the final supper. An avowed enemy did not share food with his opponent, since the sacred character of meal sharing and its intended good will would be reduced to mockery. In making his disclaimer of guilt, Judas incriminates himself. The readings today issue a clarion call for honesty, candor, and transparency. This is the authentic Christian response, even in matters of lesser moment. We are subject to the temptation to bend the truth at times in our own favor. The result is that our responses do not always reflect the facts. Sometimes the truth is painful, but we are asked to bear it with courage. It is the work of the judiciary to ferret out the truth—not always an easy task. As Christians we are called to settle out of court. To seek the truth is to seek the good, and it is the truth that sets us free. Any shade of hypocrisy is to be avoided. Christ is the luminous example of eternal truth, and it is he we wish to emulate. 

Points to Ponder 
Suffering for a good cause
The betrayal of friendship
The sin of hypocrisy
Thirty pieces of silver: the price of the Good Shepherd. 

Intercessions 
-Let us join our prayers to those of the Lord Jesus, as we say: Lord, hear your people. For all those whose love has been betrayed or rejected, we pray:
-For the people who are facing death, that they may trustingly put themselves into the Lord’s hands, we pray:
-For all who suffer and face difficult decisions, that God may be their strength and inspiration, we pray:
-For all Christians, that they may seek the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, we pray: Lord, stay with us. We love you, now and for ever. 

Prayer over the Gifts 
Praise be to you, eternal God, for you invite us to the table of your Son. Let us, Jesus’ disciples today, eat his bread of love and strength and drink his wine of gladness, that our trust in you may never fade and that we love one another in good days and in times of pain. We ask you through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion
 Our Saving God, a new world could be born when Jesus laid down his life for us and left us the sign that you have made with us a new and everlasting covenant. Thank you for letting us celebrate in memory of him that sacrifice which brought us life and unites us in him. All thanks and praise to you through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Blessing
It is good to be with the Lord this Holy Week. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on the immense love with which God loves us. How do we answer his total love? How much do we echo and mirror it to the people around us? Especially you, parents, how much do you make your children feel God’s love in you? May almighty God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.