Scripture: Lectionary # 260: Isaiah 50:4-9. Psalm 67:8-10.21-22.31.33-34.
Spy Wednesday is sometimes attached to this day in Holy Week. It shows us
the intrigue that was behind the betrayal of Jesus through Judas Iscariot.
We have Matthew’s version today which is quite appropriate since this is
the year of Matthew for Gospel proclamations throughout the liturgical year
on Sundays. Judas had known the places where Jesus would be during the time
of Passover. He would lead the band of those who were to take Jesus and
deliver him over to the chief priest Caiphas and the ones who were anxious
to get rid of him. The place where Jesus prayed was well known to Judas
and it is there in the Garden of Olives called Gethsemane, the “wine press”
that Jesus would be apprehended.
Matthew gives us the dialogue between Jesus and Judas both at the last
supper or Jesus’ celebration of the Passover with his disciples and at the
Garden of Olives. We are prepared for this sad narrative of Matthew by the
first reading from Isaiah. It is the third Suffering Servant Song (Isaiah
50:4-9) that we listen to or read on this day. It is accompanied by a
lamentation psalm that has the sentiments proper for this day. Both are
excellent aids for us in prayer as we enter into the sufferings of Jesus
expressed in his prayers as he gathers three of his disciples with him in
Gethsemane. During his agony of his scourging, crowning with thorns, he is
silent and in communion with his Father. He is carrying out the prayer he
gave us at the end of his life, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup
pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary come to mind as we meditate on the
plight of Jesus these sorrowful days. We can set aside a few minutes to
pray these mysteries or as we follow a Way of the Cross. We have seen how
Judas Iscariot has become a part of the process of Jesus’ capture that
leads to his sufferings and death. The others, the eleven, though sharing
in the distress of Jesus will eventually depart from him because of their
fears. Where do I fit in among them?
The reading from Isaiah and the Psalm prepare us for these mysteries of the
Lord and help us to enter into his interior life of love for us even to the
point of death, death on a Cross. He easily is seen in the Suffering
Servant Songs of which there are four. Though they have been said of the
whole of Israel, the early inspired writers of the New Testament
accommodated them to the person of Jesus in his sufferings and agony.