Both – And

“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

Not your typical dinner conversation. Here you are for the biggest feast of the year, sitting around the table with all of your friends, those that you have spent almost 3 years with and out of nowhere your host says, “one of you will betray me.”

The natural first question has to be, “who?” Peter looks to John to try to find out.
“So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.”

“I bet it’s that guy. He has shifty eyes. Or maybe that guy, I never trusted him anyway.”
Jesus answers John’s question by showing him “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So, it is Judas, whew! I though that He was going to say my name.

After all I have not always been perfect, if you know what I mean. It was not really betrayal it was more like a simple oversight, a slip of a technicality. Not actually a betrayal. I mean if I were really pushed, I would probably answer just the same as Peter; “Master, … I will lay down my life for you.” And we all know how that worked out for Peter.

Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”

Three betrayals before sunrise. That has to be some sort of a record.

As we progress through Holy Week, we need to be careful not to find ourselves where Peter found himself. When Jesus said that one of you will betray me, didn’t he really mean that “two” of you will betray me? And if we think about it, didn’t all 12 actually run and hide. “For it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”
Isn’t it interesting that it quotes Jesus as saying, “one of you will betray me”? When in actuality don’t we all, from time to time, betray him just a little?

Last week someone asked my why Jesus had to suffer so terribly? And the answer was painfully simple. It was because of all the suffering that we cause in the world around us. We may not be guilty of physically beating another person, but have we been guilty of a hurtful word or tone. We may not have placed a hand on the crown of thorns that were pressed on Jesus’s brow, but have we had a hand in restraining another thoughts, aspirations or dreams.

We may have had nothing to do with the physical dimensions of the cross that He had to carry but have our sins added to the weight of what he had to carry to his death. “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

How depressing. If this is what Holy Week is all about maybe I should head back to bed, pull the covers over my head, wait for all the snow to pass and just wake up Easter morning. And that would be a big mistake.

Today’s reading is not about betrayal, it is about forgiveness. Peter and Judas were forgiven. As a matter of fact, all 12 were forgiven. For that matter, all of us are forgiven. Every one of us, for everything that we have done. Even that time that I “accidentally” kicked a nun! Who would have thought it, but even that was forgiven?

Holy Week is not an “either or”! It is not Holy Thursday or Easter Sunday. It is not Good Friday or the Easter Vigil! It is “both and”!

Holy Week is all about BOTH today’s story of forgiveness AND Jesus’ willingness not to have the cup pass from His lips. Holy Week is about BOTH the brutality of the Crucifixion on Good Friday AND the hope, promise and forgiveness of Easter Sunday.

So maybe the talk of betrayal is, sort of, normal dinner conversation when it is only the opening for the topic of forgiveness. As we go through the rest of Holy Week, and we experience the splendor of the Tridium, the question shouldn’t be who betrayed Him, or who was forgiven. The question should be, “now that we know that we are forgiven, what are we going to do with that knowledge?”

In Psalm 96 David sang, “Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise”

JN13: 21-33,36-38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”

April 12, 2022

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