Draw Close to Christ
April 7, 2020 Tuesday of Holy Week
John 13:21-33, 36-38
When he had said this, 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’s side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’s 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 he 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 he took the morsel and left at onc e. 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’t I 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.”
Opening Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, open my heart to hear what you want me to hear. Help me to draw close to Christ always.
1. Worth The Cost?: Judas’s betrayal was spiteful and greedy. He had been looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over so he could collect his meager thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16). When we reflect on Judas’s betrayal, we can ask ourselves when we have betrayed Our Lord through our sins. What do we have to gain when we sin? Is it momentary pleasure, a fleeting grasp at money or power, or simply foolish pride? No matter what momentary gain we think we receive, it is never worth the cost of the pain it causes Jesus, others, and ourselves.
2. The Law of the Gift: As soon as Judas left, Jesus announced, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (John 13:31). Christ was glorified when his Passion had begun, the hour when he offered his blood to save us from our sins. God the Father was also glorified in Christ’s Passion because the Son obediently did his will. God the Father sent Jesus to die for our sins; this was Christ’s mission. Jesus spoke earlier of glorifying God the Father through his death: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). This is the Law of the Gift. Christ gave his life for us in the ultimate act of self-giving love. We too live by the Law of the Gift, for we are most fulfilled when we lovingly give ourselves to others. St. Paul VI wrote: “man...cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself” (G audium et Spes, #24).
3. Draw Close to Christ: Peter’s denial later in the Passion narrative was driven by fear (Matthew 26:69-75). He desired to follow Jesus even unto death: “I will lay down my life for you” (John 13:37), but Peter’s fear caused him to distance himself from Jesus. Peter felt threatened, so he disguised his Christian identity by denying Christ; he even cursed and swore to prove it. Notice how St. John drew so close to Christ that “he leaned back against Jesus’s chest” (John 13:25) at the Last Supper. He was also the only apostle that stayed with Jesus through his entire Passion. Who do we choose to imitate this Holy Week? Peter, who was ashamed of being “too Christian,” or John who always remained close to his Savior?
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, may I never betray or deny you, but instead always draw ever closer to you. I know that, with you near me, guiding me day by day, I can learn to give myself to others through acts of selfless love. Help me die to myself so that it is no longer I who lives, but you who lives in me (cf. Galatians 2:20).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will offer an act of selfless love for someone.