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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Holy Tuesday
Memory of the missionary martyrs.

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 13, 21-33.36-38

Having said this, Jesus was deeply disturbed and declared, 'In all truth I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.'

The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he meant.

The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus;

Simon Peter signed to him and said, 'Ask who it is he means,'

so leaning back close to Jesus' chest he said, 'Who is it, Lord?'

Jesus answered, 'It is the one to whom I give the piece of bread that I dip in the dish.' And when he had dipped the piece of bread he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.

At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, 'What you are going to do, do quickly.'

None of the others at table understood why he said this.

Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, 'Buy what we need for the festival,' or telling him to give something to the poor.

As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. It was night.

When he had gone, Jesus said: Now has the Son of man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified.

If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon.

Little children, I shall be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come.

Simon Peter said, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus replied, 'Now you cannot follow me where I am going, but later you shall follow me.'

Peter said to him, 'Why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.'

'Lay down your life for me?' answered Jesus. 'In all truth I tell you, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.'


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Jesus knows well that his ‘hour" is approaching - his death is not far off. Jesus’ heart is crowded with different, even conflicting, emotions: he does not want to die, but neither does he want to flee. Either way, the hour of his "departure" from this world to the Father has come and it cannot be taken for granted that the disciples will stay together. Judas is about to betray him, even though the Teacher bent down to wash his feet. It is with great sadness that Jesus says to the twelve, "One of you will betray me." Everyone is dismayed; the traitor is among his closest friends. This means that in following Jesus, it is not our physical proximity that counts but rather that of the heart, that is abandoning ourselves to him and following him, welcoming his teaching till the end. We may even stay close to Jesus, follow some devotional practices, continue our rites and religious habits, but if we do not follow with our heart to the Word of the Lord, if we do not concretely practice love for the poor, if there is no concrete communion with our brothers and sisters, our heart goes far off, our mind befogs and we do not understand the Lord’s dream of love anymore. Then it becomes natural to slip into betrayal. The battle between good and evil - between trust and distrust - is played out in our heart. These days, Jesus is asking for our hearts. He tries to help the disciples understand what is about to happen, but, beginning with Peter, they do not understand, because they are not listening to him carefully, they do not allow their hearts to be touched. Betrayal comes from a heart that does not listen. If we put aside the words of the Gospel, our words, our thoughts and our feelings prevail. We even become able to sell off Jesus. We all need to be vigilant. Even Peter and the other disciples who remained with him that night and said they would be faithful to him till death, would betray him in a few days. We must not rely on ourselves but entrust ourselves every day to the Lord’s love and protection.

Holy Tuesday