Day Thirty-Six: Betrayal

Tuesday of Holy Week

It’s confounding that one of the Twelve Apostles, who spent three years listening to Jesus preach and perform miracles, was part of His inner circle, and witnessed His daily life, would, in the end, turn on Him and betray Him for money. Similarly, it is confounding that one-third of the created angels, including Lucifer—the “Light-bearer”—would revolt against the Most Holy Trinity at the moment of their creation, preferring eternal damnation to eternal beatitude.

Today’s Gospel for the Tuesday of Holy Week comes from the Last Supper when Judas left to betray Jesus. We read, “Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me” (John 13:21). The Gospel then goes on to say that satan entered Judas and he “left at once. And it was night” (John 13:30). The symbolism of “night” refers to the darkness of evil that had overcome Judas in that moment. Today’s Gospel concludes with Jesus saying to Peter, “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” (John 13:38). Jesus was betrayed for money by one of the Twelve and denied out of fear by another.

Though this might be shocking to us if we think about it objectively, considering the closeness between Jesus and these two Apostles, it will not be shocking if we look honestly at our own lives and consider our own betrayals and denials.

The good news is that Jesus is more aware of our sin than we are, and He loves us all the same. He is quick to forgive and quick to reconcile. This leaves only us, coming face-to-face with the betrayals and denials we need to overcome.

Though it might be more pleasant to ponder happy and holy moments—such as prayers answered, victories won, or even the joy of the Resurrection—the true prayer, victory, and resurrection our Lord wants for us will only come if we face the painful truths of our sins. Even the greatest saints continually mourned over their sins because the closer they grew to God, the more clearly they saw how the smallest fault, the tiniest defect, and the most venial sin interfered with God’s superabundant grace.

When Peter was told that he would deny Jesus three times, he must have been shocked and disbelieving. When we hear the same said of us, we will likely also be shocked and in disbelief. Love is in the details, and when we carefully and thoroughly examine every detail of our relationship with God, we will always find small ways we need to grow, repent, heal, and convert.

Ponder these two close companions of Jesus. Though Judas’ sin became mortal, Peter’s was forgiven. Peter became a great saint who sacrificed his life for our Lord through tireless service of the Gospel and ultimately martyrdom under the Emperor Nero. Don’t ever deny that there are ways you reject our Lord, His mercy, His guidance, and His perfect will. Keeping humble will enable you to learn from Saint Peter and more fully fulfill the glorious mission God gives to you.

My grieving Lord, Judas’ betrayal deeply troubled your merciful Heart as you saw him reject all that You wanted to bestow upon him. Peter’s denial also grieved Your Heart, but Your mercy won Him back. Please be merciful to me, a sinner, and help me to relentlessly confront my every sin so that Your grace will purge it from my life and set me on the glorious road to sanctity in service of Your will. Jesus, I trust in You.

See also: Day Thirty-Six: 40 Days at the Foot of the Cross

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