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?"
"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.
"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."
The readings of Holy Week paint images of intimacy with Jesus contrasted with those who turn from His love. In this Gospel, Jesus is “deeply troubled” and is unburdening His heart to His disciples. He shares with them that one of them would eventually betray Him and everyone is confused by His words. Simon Peter, being the leader, signals to the beloved disciple, John, to try to find out who it is. John leans into Jesus’ chest, near His Heart, and asks the name of the betrayer. Taking a small bit of food from the Passover seder, Jesus dips it in salt water, a symbol of the tears shed by the Hebrews in slavery during their time in Egypt, and hands it to Judas. Judas accepts the sign of affliction, because he is already enslaved by his own prideful agenda and quickly departs the meal of intimacy with Christ.
Perhaps Judas thought he was doing Jesus a favor by arranging His confrontation with the high priest and the Sanhedrin, but it's obvious from the story of the anointing at Bethany, and today’s story, that Judas did not really understand Jesus’ Heart. Had he invested time into building his relationship with Christ, and not just filling the money bag that is constantly referenced in relationship to him, perhaps the Holy Week story would have unfolded differently. If anything, we can learn from Judas that if we do not take time to stay near the Heart of Christ, like the beloved disciple, we will find ourselves taking the sufferings of life, symbolized by the morsel dipped in salt water, and use them as incentive to move away from the God who loves us even in moments of confusion and pain.
Today, let us reflect on whether or not we have allowed our struggles to draw us closer to Christ. Jesus wants us to stay near Him, like the beloved disciples. Let us resolve to share everything with Him, even the struggles, so that He can feed us with His life rather than allowing ourselves to be fed by the bitterness of our struggles.