Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Matthew 26:14-25

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Wednesday of Holy Week

One of you will betray me. (Matthew 26:21)

Lord Jesus, you really know how to upset people. “One of you will betray me”—what a bombshell! Sure, your disciples are aware that someone is going to hand you over (Matthew 17:22; 20:18; 26:2). But to learn that it’s one of them! Who could it be?

I can picture the Eleven gripped with horror at the terrifying possibilities. I see their fearful faces turning to you, seeking assurance that they would never do such a thing: “Surely it is not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22). Even Peter is too stunned to deny the possibility of his own weakness. Defenses fall, and eleven hearts face the truth: Am I capable of betraying my Lord? Yes, I am.

You foresee, Jesus, what will happen. The moment of clarity will pass. Soon your little band will be justifying themselves and professing their undying loyalty (Matthew 26:35). But then they’ll run away. How well you know these men—and how little they know themselves! Still, how deeply you love them and want them to be one with you. Right to the end, you work to call out the good you see in them.

You address that twelfth disciple, your betrayer, and offer him one last chance to change course. Then, before delivering yourself to your enemies, you hand yourself over to your wavering friends: “Take and eat… . Drink” (Matthew 26:26, 27). Who but you could have imagined this act of love!

Jesus, it is good for me to be here, reflecting on this scene. Tomorrow, Holy Thursday, will remind me in a special way that I’m in it. At every Mass, it’s like I’m sitting elbow-to-elbow with the apostles at the Last Supper. Like them, I’m flawed and weak. But as I eat your Body and drink your Blood, your life flows through me and makes me strong. And so, looking not at my sins and liabilities but at your power at work in me, I boldly dare to offer a prayer that many Eastern Catholics recite before receiving Communion: “I will not betray you with a kiss, as did Judas, but like the repentant thief, I openly profess you: Remember me, O Lord, in your kingdom.”

“Jesus, thank you for giving your life out of love for me. You make my heart leap with joy!”

Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34

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