“When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another…” (John 13:21-22)
To prove to Naaman that it was God who cured him, Elisha refused to accept gifts from Naaman. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant could not resist the gifts that Elisha rejected. He ran after Naaman and told a lie: My master has sent me to say, “There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets; pray, give them a talent of silver and two festal garments.” As a result of telling lies in the name of the prophet, Gehazi became leprous.
Judas knew the Jews were planning to kill Jesus and he also knew that they lacked certain insider information about Jesus. Like Gehazi, Judas pounced on this opportunity to make some money for himself. He went to the Jews saying: “What would you give me if I deliver him to you?” If Judas had not gone to the Jews, they would have on their own found a way to arrest Jesus. Judas only made it easy for them.
Jesus said: “The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24). I can only imagine the pain Jesus felt in our Gospel passage knowing that someone who shared the same plate with him was going to betray him. This is the pain Jesus feels when we turn God’s house into a money-making enterprise when we tell lies by pronouncing fake prophecies just to gain popularity and wealth.
Just as Isaiah sings in today’s first reading, Jesus is silent, he turns not backward, He gives His back to those who strike Him and His cheeks to those who pulled out the beard. He does not hide His face from shame and spitting. And as St. Paul said to the Philippians, “being found in human form He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:8-9)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, free me from greed that I may truly worship You. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 50:4-9, Ps. 69:8-10,21-22,31,33-34, Matthew 26:14-25).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu