Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Liturgical Year C, Cycle II

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 71:1-6, 15, 17
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

The Sorrowful Mysteries

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6

The Servant’s Mission

Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath been mindful of my name.

2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword: in the shadow of his hand he hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow: in his quiver he hath hidden me.

3 And he said to me: Thou art my servant Israel, for in thee will I glory.

4 And I said: I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength without cause and in vain: therefore my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.

5 And now saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be his servant, that I may bring back Jacob unto him, and Israel will not be gathered together: and I am glorified in the eyes of the Lord, and my God is made my strength.

6 And he said: It is a small thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to convert the dregs of Israel. Behold, I have given thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that thou mayst be my salvation even to the farthest part of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 71:1-6, 15, 17

Prayer for Lifelong Protection and Help

A psalm for David. Of the sons of Jonadab, and the former captives. In thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be put to confusion:

2 Deliver me in thy justice, and rescue me. Incline thy ear unto me, and save me.

3 Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of strength: that thou mayst make me safe. For thou art my firmament and my refuge.

4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner, and out of the hand of the transgressor of the law and of the unjust.

5 For thou art my patience, O Lord: my hope, O Lord, from my youth;

6 By thee have I been confirmed from the womb: from my mother's womb thou art my protector. Of thee shall I continually sing:

Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Jesus Foretells His Betrayal

21 When Jesus had said these things, he was troubled in spirit; and he testified, and said: Amen, amen I say to you, one of you shall betray me.

22 The disciples therefore looked one upon another, doubting of whom he spoke.

23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him: Who is it of whom he speaketh?

25 He therefore, leaning on the breast of Jesus, saith to him: Lord, who is it?

26 Jesus answered: He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And when he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

27 And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him: That which thou dost, do quickly.

28 Now no man at the table knew to what purpose he said this unto him.

29 For some thought, because Judas had the purse, that Jesus had said to him: Buy those things which we have need of for the festival day: or that he should give something to the poor.

30 He therefore having received the morsel, went out immediately. And it was night.

31 When he therefore was gone out, Jesus said: Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

32 If God be glorified in him, God also will glorify him in himself; and immediately will he glorify him.

33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You shall seek me; and as I said to the Jews: Whither I go you cannot come; so I say to you now.

Betrayal and faltering loyalty to Jesus

Jesus' disciples were put to the test as Jesus prepared to make the final and ultimate sacrifice of his own life for their sake and for all the world. What was different between Peter and Judas? Judas deliberately betrayed his Master while Peter, in a moment of weakness, denied him with an oath and a curse. Judas' act was cold and calculated. Peter, however, never meant to do what he did. He acted impulsively, out of weakness and cowardice. Jesus knew both the strength of Peter's loyalty and the weakness of his resolution. He had a habit of speaking with his heart without thinking through the implications of what he was saying.

The treachery of Judas, however, is seen at its worst when Jesus makes his appeal by showing special affection to him at his last supper. John says that Satan entered into Judas when he rejected Jesus and left to pursue his evil course. Satan can twist love and turn it into hate. He can turn holiness into pride, discipline into cruelty, affection into complacency. We must be on our guard lest Satan turn us from the love of God and the path which God has chosen for us.

The Holy Spirit will give us grace and strength in our time of testing. If we submit to Jesus we will walk in the light of his truth and love. If we turn our backs on him we will stumble and fall in the ways of sin and darkness. Are you ready to follow Jesus in his way of the cross?

"Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord."  (Prayer of Thomas Aquinas)

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

Through this week’s readings, from Palm Sunday through Holy Week to Easter, we have both the advantage and the challenge of knowing how the story ends.  We know Easter is coming.  The Gospel today, however, reminds us that as the disciples were with Jesus in these last days, there was a lot of secrecy and confusion; it is clear that the disciples did not understand what was happening.  I imagine the question, “What lies ahead?” had to be at the forefront in many of the disciples’ minds.  And of course, we all have that question.  It can be hard to enter the mindset of the disciples in this story because we know how things play out.  It becomes easier, though, when we connect the story to our own lives and the fact that we don’t know what the future holds, either.  What is key here, I think, is how we approach that unknown future.

Part of the confusion for the disciples had to come from the fact that they thought they had an idea of how things were supposed to go, and it almost certainly didn’t include one of these close companions betraying the one they were following.  When Jesus said that one of them would betray him, they couldn’t accept or understand it because it didn’t fit with what they wanted or expected.

I think this is also the problem Peter runs into.  He does not know what Jesus’ path entails and is so locked into his own vision of the path ahead that he can’t accept or be in the situation that presents itself.  Peter says he will lay down his life, but Jesus is not so sure.  Again, that is probably because Peter doesn’t actually know what he is saying.  He is being challenged to surrender his own ideas about how things are supposed to go, to let go of his self-centeredness and self-pitying, but he is either unaware or unwilling to do it.  He finds himself so unnerved at not seeing things play out the way he wants them to, he completely turns away from Jesus and denies ever knowing him.

This is our lesson today.  We often don’t know where things are going or what lies ahead, and our lives will inevitably contain disappointments, losses, and betrayals.  But if we are able to move away from having such strong attachments to how things “should be,” we’ll be able to realize that remaining faithful disciples and following the example of Jesus (humility, patience, compassion, courage) is how we can face whatever lies ahead in life’s uncertainties and unexpected turns.

by Craig Zimmer
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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