Holy Tuesday

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Holy Tuesday
Memorial of the new 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 - that of his death are resurrection. Jesus' heart is crowded with conflicting, emotions: he does not want to die, but neither does he want to flee. The hour of his departure from this world to the Father has come. What will it be of the little group of disciples that he gathered, cared for, loved, and taught? Will they be able to continue being together? Jesus knows that Judas is about to betray him. This disciple does not care that Jesus bent down to wash his feet. With feet that have been washed, touched, and maybe even kissed by Jesus, Judas is about to go out to betray his teacher. It is with great sadness that Jesus says to the apostles: "One of you will betray me." Everyone is dismayed. Indeed, it is not enough to be close to Jesus physically. What count is whether our hearts are close to him and we take part in his plan of salvation. We too may live in the community of the disciples, following its rhythms of life, but if we do not follow the word of the Lord with our heart, we will lose sight of the Lord's loving dream. And while our gaze on Jesus decreases its focus, our care for ourselves and our things grow. Then it becomes natural to slip into betrayal. The battle between good and evil - between trust and distrust - is played out in our heart. And there can be no compromise. This is the teaching that comes to us from Judas' story. During these days, more than asking us to serve him, Jesus asks us to be near him, to accompany him, and not to leave him alone. If anything, he urges us to be attentive, not to slip into banality. Jesus tries to make the disciples understand this. But, starting with Peter, they do not understand. They are caught up in themselves and they do not allow their hearts to be touched by Jesus' words. If we do not listen to the words of the Gospel, our words, our thoughts, and our feelings prevail. We become capable even of selling out Jesus. We all need to be vigilant. Even though Peter and the other disciples who were with Jesus that night said they would be faithful to him till death, they abandoned and deny him a few days later. We cannot rely on ourselves; we must entrust ourselves to the Lord's love and protection every day.