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The Everyday Prayer

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

Holy Wednesday

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Matthew 26, 14-25

Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests

and said, 'What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?' They paid him thirty silver pieces,

and from then onwards he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, 'Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?'

He said, 'Go to a certain man in the city and say to him, "The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples." '

The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came he was at table with the Twelve.

And while they were eating he said, 'In truth I tell you, one of you is about to betray me.'

They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, 'Not me, Lord, surely?'

He answered, 'Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me will betray me.

The Son of man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!'

Judas, who was to betray him, asked in his turn, 'Not me, Rabbi, surely?' Jesus answered, 'It is you who say it.'


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The story of Judas’ betrayal raises always feelings of sorrow and disconcertment. What a difference with Mary who just few days before had anointed Jesus’ feet with precious ointment! Judas reaches the point to sell his Teacher for thirty pieces of silver (the price of a slave’s ransom). How bitter are the words that begin the Gospel passage that we heard today: “One of the twelve!” Yes, one of his closest friends. And yet Jesus had chosen him, loved him, and taken care of him, he had defended him from the attacks of the enemy Pharisees. Yet it is he who goes and sells him. Judas’ heart has been progressively seduced by wealth, and the distance from the Teacher grew until it led to betrayal. Jesus himself had said it: “You cannot serve God and wealth.” Judas ended up preferring wealth. It was drawing near to Passover, the time of passage, the time when the lamb was eaten for supper. Jesus has preparations made for the meal. In reality, it was not Judas who “handed” Jesus over to the priests, but Jesus who “handed” himself over to death because of his love for men and women. The Teacher speaks of betrayal, but he does not oppose it with force; he does not destroy the traitor. Jesus wants love and only love. Jesus wants the sinner’s repentance, not his elimination. The question about love that was asked that evening continues to be asked of every disciple and of every man and woman. Jesus’ passion has not ended. That is why Judas is not distant from us or foreign to our way of living. Each one of us is called to question ourselves regarding our own betrayals. But if we welcome the Lord’s cross, we will be freed from betrayal, indifference and sin.

Holy Wednesday

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday