Readings: Is 49:1-6; Ps 71(70):1-2.3-4a.5-6b.15.17; St John 13:21-33.36-38
approaching the times of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the readings
are telling us more about the mood of the times that preceded Jesus’ trial. The
‘plot is slowly thickening’ and a clear outcome is taking shape: Jesus is
living his last moments on earth. During the last
days, we heard the reasons why the Pharisees and the chief priests wanted Jesus
dead: “it was better that one man died instead of many (in a case he would have
started a revolution against the Romans who would then have taken away the land) … and
also he had called himself the son of God.” But it was not only the chief priests and the Pharisees that would played a role in his arrest.Worse than that, his closest
friends are going to betray him and hand him over to the chief priests.
In today’s Gospel,
when Jesus says: “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped
it”, he did not only mean to show them who was going to betray him, but also
that it was a close person, one with whom he shared food. Later when Peter
professes his fidelity, Jesus tells him that he would also betray him. The
entire story is already sad as Jesus feels that his last hour is approaching.
But much sadder, he knows that those who should have stood by him and protected
him are the ones to betray him.
In a few words,
today’s readings and in the last day’s readings we understand the escalation of
the events that led to Jesus. It was not because he was a criminal. It was
partly because a few people did not like what he was doing and others (his
friends) did not stood by him. The story that happened 2,000 years ago, still
repeats itself every time human beings unjustly oppress others and many
stand and watch it happen. Both are co-operators in the propagation of evil. Every
time we, Christians, stand and watch the innocent oppressed, the just persecuted
because of their actions, and do not intervene, we are doing
exactly what Jesus' disciples did when he was about to be killed: because we
claim, like St Paul, that we would die for Christ, but when he is persecuted in
the poor, in the hungry, in the refugee, in the homeless, in the unjustly
condemned, we tend to deny him.
readings keep on reminding us that, as Christians, we are called to action, not to
be ‘neutral observers’ when evil is being given a seat in our midst.