A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 26:14-25
"One of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, "The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near; In your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.'" The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?" He said in reply, "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born." Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, "Surely, it is not I, Rabbi?" He answered, "You have said so."
The Gospel of the Lord
+Let us Pray; Come Holy Spirit, enkindle the hearts of the faithful, set my heart on fire, let is hunger and thirst for you every word.
In the Gospel today there are a few places we will pause for reflection. As always follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, wherever He stops you, these are just prompts, "springboards" for your prayer. The first place we will pause is in the very beginning, let us look at temptation. Temptation is dangerous when we stop and look at it and dialogue with it. "What are you willing to give me?" could be our unspoken words with a temptation. "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" When we are flirting with sinful thoughts it's dangerous, when it turns into dialogue, it can be disastrous to our weakened human nature. We run the risk of swallowing the Lie of the Tempter, who offers us the lure of mere rhinestones and tries to pass off them off as the real thing, as diamonds. We buy the lie by consenting to his shady deals. If you knew you had a 1 k diamond in your hand, who would trade it for a 5k rhinestone? Here in the Gospel today, as we watch Judas He asks, "What are you willing to give me?" The thought is consented upon and it says in the gospel, "from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over." When we consent to the temptation, we look for the opportunity to get what it is, what we said "yes" to. To say yes to something at the cost of losing Jesus' Presence in my life, is only a kill-joy. There is no joy without Jesus. Pleasure from temptation is like holding a bag of coins, with a big hole at the bottom.
A second point to possibly ponder in the Gospel today is this; Our Lord said, " Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me. Deeply distressed at this they began to say to him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?" Can you sense the deep pain the disciples have in their hearts when he says those words. Knowing in their hearts, all the things, the little ways they are so unfaithful to Him, wondering if He is speaking about them, to them- wondering if they will be the one, who truly fails him. We oftentimes we can all feel how the little things we do seem so small, and maybe we do them "slapdash" as Mother Teresa used to say to us. But the little things are the great things. In the Imitation of Christ it says, "He who is faithful in little is faithful in much." Who of us is ready to be a martyr? It seems none of us, but the one who is faithful in the small things, can be faithful in the greater. Be with Jesus here in this part of the Gospel, listen to him says those words. BE with the disciples, Be in the sandals of one of the disciples. What is in your heart, when you hear Jesus say those words? Talk with Him about it.
Last point, the disciples called him "Lord" in this passage but Judas called him "Rabbi". It seems by this singular choice of word, he is recognizing Jesus not as the others do. Jesus is a "Teacher" to him, but to the others, He is "LORD". There in lies a great distinction. Who is he to you? Teacher? or Lord of your life?
+Let us Pray, Lord Jesus, we love you, increase our faith, give us courage, help us this day to turn our back to temptation and not to you. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us. Amen