April 17, 2019

Mt 26: 14-25

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Recognizing God

I’ve always thought The Beatles song, Ticket To Ride, fit the story of Judas, as it captures Jesus’ sentiment. Slightly altered lyrics can read:

I think I’m gonna be sad, I think it’s today, yeah.
Judas that’s driving me mad, is going away.
He’s got a ticket to ride, he’s got a ticket, he’s got a ticket to ride,
But he don’t care.

When everything around you appears to be falling apart, your survival instincts kick into full gear and your inclinations turn towards the self. Judas’ world (and the Jewish world) was breaking down politically, socially, religiously, and economically. As the Temple started to collapse, so did his faith. Judas represents a hopeless resignation to a system too big to defeat. So, he bought a “ticket to ride” out of his relationship with Jesus because he failed to recognize God in the flesh. But those who recognized that Christ was in fact reclining with them were given something far greater than 30 pieces of silver. They were given the Kingdom of God.

—Mark Chang is a Theology Teacher and the Director of the New Teacher Induction Program at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.


O God, who willed your Son to submit for our sake to the yoke of the Cross, so that you might drive from us the power of the enemy, grant us, your servants, to attain the grace of the resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

—Collect prayer from today’s Mass

Troy Bengford