Today’s Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38
We have all faced denial in one form or another in our lives. Denial is not only painful, but also harmful to our self-worth. It’s hard to feel loved and worthy when someone has turned their back on you.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals his betrayer. He dips the morsel and hands it to Judas Iscariot, signifying him as the one who will betray him to the Scribes and Pharisees.
Judas’ betrayal will effect our Lord’s arrest, trial, and Crucifixion.
What’s interesting in this scene – aside from the betrayal itself – is what Jesus says to the remaining disciples after Judas has 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.” (Jn 13: 31-32)
Humanly speaking, that’s an odd thing to say.
Our Lord has just been betrayed in the most severe of ways, and yet he declares that he has been glorified. How can that be? He’s about to be shamed, tortured, and to die the death of a criminal.
Jesus is seeing the situation with divine eyes, which have a much deeper and broader scope than our merely human eyes. He understands that pain – yes, even betrayal – can bring glory, as long as it is endured for God’s sake.
This can be true of our own betrayal as well. Certainly it hurts. It even can be damaging and devastating. And yet, it can bring glory, not so much in that we ourselves will be glorified, but in that God will be glorified when we offer it all to him.
And when we give God glory, even in the most horrid of circumstances, we will eventually enter the glory of Eternity.
Betrayal is never easy to accept or recover from, but when we unite our sufferings with those of Jesus, the betrayal will sting less and we will be strengthened by his example and his grace.
In this way, our betrayal can become glorious indeed.
How is my betrayal similar to Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and how is it different?
Lord Jesus, you endured Judas’ betrayal for my sake, and in the process gave glory to God. In your divine wisdom, you know how I suffer with betrayal, and you know what I need to heal from it. Please, grant me the grace to give glory to God in spite of my affliction. Jesus, I unite my pain with yours. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Marge Fenelon
Marge Fenelon is a Catholic author, blogger, speaker, and journalist whose writing has appeared in dozens of media outlets, including National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic News Service/Faith Alive. She blogs at National Catholic Register and is a columnist for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. Fenelon is the author of several books on Marian devotion and Catholic family life, including Imitating Mary and Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena. She is a regular contributor on national Catholic radio programs and has appeared on Catholic television as well.