Subj: JOHN 13:21-33, 36-38: TUESDAY'S GOSPEL FOR REFLECTION
Date: 3/29/99 2:45:07 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: email@example.com (Manuel Tuazon)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)
For: Tuesday, March 30, 1999
From: John 13:21-33, 36-38
The Treachery of Judas Foretold
 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, uncertain of whom He spoke.
 One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the
breast of Jesus;  so Simon Peter beckoned to Him and said, "Tell us
who it is of whom He speaks."  So lying thus, close to the breast
of Jesus, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?"  Jesus answered, "It
is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when
He had dipped the morsel, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon
Iscariot.  Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus
said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."  Now no one
at the table knew why He said this to him.  Some thought that,
because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what you
need for the feast"; or, that he should give something to the poor.
 So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it
 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man
glorified, and in Him God is glorified;  if God is glorified in
Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him at once.
 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek
Me, and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going
you cannot come.'  Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You
going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now; but
you shall follow Me afterward."  Peter said to Him, "Lord, why
cannot I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You."  Jesus
answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to
you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied Me three times."
21. Christ's sadness is proportionate to the gravity of the offense.
Judas was one of those whom Jesus chose to be an Apostle: he had been
on intimate terms with Him for three years, he had followed Him
everywhere, had seen His miracles, had heard His divine teaching, and
experienced the tenderness of His affection. And despite all that,
when the moment of truth comes, Judas not only abandons the Master but
betrays Him and sells Him. Betrayal by an intimate friend is something
much more painful and cruel than betrayal by a stranger, for it
involves a lack of loyalty. The spiritual life of the Christian is
also true friendship with Jesus; this means it is based on loyalty and
uprightness, and on being true to one's word.
Judas had already decided to hand Jesus over and had made arrangements
with the chief priests (cf. Matthew 26:14; Mark 14:10-11; Luke
22:3-6). Temptation had been burrowing its way into Judas' heart for
some time back, as we saw at the anointing at Bethany when he protested
Mary's loving gesture; St. John commented in that connection that he
did it not out of love for the poor but because he was a thief (cf.
23. In that period, on important occasions the customary thing was to
eat reclining on a kind of divan called a "triclinium". The diner
rested on his left elbow and ate with his right hand. This meant it
was easy to lean on the person on one's left and talk to him without
people hearing. In this verse we can see the intimacy and trust which
obtained between the Master and the beloved disciple (cf. John 19:27;
20-2; 21:23), a model of Jesus' love for all His true disciples and of
theirs for their Master.
26-27. The morsel which Jesus offers him is a sign of friendship and,
therefore, an invitation to him to give up his evil plotting. But
Judas rejects the chance he is offered. "What he received is good",
St. Augustine comments, "but he received it to his own perdition,
because he, being evil, received in an evil manner what is good" ("In
Ioann. Evang.", 61, 6). Satan entering into him means that from that
moment Judas gave in completely to the devil's temptation.
29. "These details have been recorded that we may not bear ill will
against those who wrong us, but may reproach them and weep over them.
Indeed, not those who are wronged, but those who do wrong deserve our
tears. For the covetous man and the slanderer, and the man guilty of
any other wrongdoing injure themselves most of all.[...] Christ repaid
the man who was going to betray Him with just the opposite. For
example, He washed his feet, reproved him without bitterness, censured
him in private, ministered to him, allowed him to share in His table
and His kiss. Yet, though Judas did not become better because of these
things, Jesus Himself persevered in His course of action" (St. John
Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 71, 4).
30. The indication that "it was night" is not just a reference to the
time of day but to darkness as an image of sin, an image of the power
of darkness whose hour was beginning at that very moment (cf. Luke
22:53). The contrast between light and darkness, the opposition of
good and evil, is frequently met with in the Bible, especially in the
Fourth Gospel: even in the prologue we are told that Christ is the true
Light which the darkness has not overcome (cf. John 1:5).
31-32. This glorification refers above all to the glory which Christ
will receive once He is raised up on the cross (John 3:14; 12:32).
St. John stresses that Christ's death is the beginning of His victory:
His very crucifixion can be considered the first step in His ascension
to His Father. At the same time it is glorification of the Father,
because Christ, by voluntarily accepting death out of love, as a
supreme act of obedience to the Will of God, performs the greatest
sacrifice man can offer for the glorification of God. The Father will
respond to this glorification which Christ offers Him by glorifying
Christ as Son of Man, that is, in His holy human nature, through His
resurrection and ascension to God's right hand. Thus the glory which
the Son gives the Father is at the same time glory for the Son.
Christ's disciple will also find His highest motivation by identifying
himself with Christ's obedience. St. Paul teaches this very clearly
when he says: "Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of the
Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14).
33. From this verse onwards the evangelist recounts what is usually
called the discourse of the Last Supper; in it we can distinguish three
parts. In the first, our Lord begins by proclaiming the New
Commandment (verses 33-35) and predicts Peter's denials (verses 36-38);
He tells them that His death means His going to His Father (Chapter 14),
with Whom He is one because He is God (verses 1-14); and He announces
that after His resurrection He will send them the Holy Spirit, who will
guide them by teaching them and reminding them of everything He told
them (verses 15-31).
The second part of the discourse is contained in Chapters 15 and 16.
Jesus promises to those who believe in Him a new life of union with
Him, as intimate as that of a vine and its branches (15:1-18). To
attain this union one must keep His New Commandment (verses 9-18). He
forewarns them about the contradictions they will suffer, and He
encourages them by promising the Holy Spirit who will protect them and
console them (verses 18-27). The action of the Paraclete or Consoler
will lead them to fulfill the mission Jesus has entrusted to them
(16:1-15). The fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit will be
fullness of joy (verses 16-33).
The third part (Chapter 7) gives Jesus' priestly prayer, in which He
asks the Father to glorify Him through the cross (verses 1-5). He
prays also for His disciples (verses 6-19) and for all those who
through them will believe in Him, so that, staying in the world without
being of the world, the love of God should be in them and they should
bear witness to Christ being the envoy of the Father (verses 20-26).
36-38. Once again Peter in his simplicity and sincerity tells his
Master that he is ready to follow Him even to the point of dying for
Him. But he is not yet ready for that. Our Lord, St. Augustine
comments, "establishes here a delay; He does not destroy the hope,
indeed He confirms it by saying, `You shall follow afterwards! Why are
you in haste, Peter? As yet the rock has not made you strong inwardly:
do not be brought down by your presumption. Now you cannot follow Me,
but do not despair: later you will'" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 66, 1).
Peter had certainly meant what he said, but his resolution was not very
solid. Later on he would develop a fortitude based on humility; then,
not considering himself worthy to die in the way his Master did, he
will die on a cross, head downwards, rooting in the soil of Rome that
solid stone which endures in those who succeed him and forming the
basis on which the Church, which is indefectible, is built. Peter's
denials, which are signs of his weakness, were amply compensated for by
his profound repentance. "Let everyone draw from this example of
contrition, and if he has fallen let him not despair, but always
remember that he can become worthy of forgiveness" (St. Bede, "In
Ioann. Evang. Expositio, in loc".).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland. Printed in Hungary.
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