Betrayal: Tuesday of Holy Week 2021

Today, as we eavesdrop on the dialogue about betrayal between Jesus and Peter (cf John 13) we are confronted with a bleak truth. We all know the pain of being betrayed, but we are less likely to ackowledge the pain of betraying others. Yet that is exactly what we do, all the time! The tragedy is that we do not always recognize the ways in which we let others down, or we impersonalise them so that they remain ‘other’ and never take on an individual, human face. The UK’s reduction in its aid budget, from 0.7 to 0.5% of GDP, is not just a scaling down by one of the world’s most generous givers, it is also a betrayal of those who were relying on it to fund healthcare and education projects, for example. Then there are the more obviously personal betrayals: the broken promises, the cheating on relationships, the selfish choice we make.

As we go deeper into Holy Week, it would be good to take stock. Instead of worrying about how others have hurt us, perhaps we could spend a few moments thinking how we have hurt others, asking forgiveness if we can, but at any rate resolving not to fall into old patterns of behaviour. It can be helpful to look at what drives us to betray others. It may be money, the need to appear successful, even laziness. For each of us it will be different, but discovering our own weakness may enable us to understand better the betrayals of Judas and Peter, and the loneliness Christ experienced as a result.

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Tuesday of Holy Weeek 2013: Varieties of Betrayal

Today we read the gospel of the betrayal at Mass. When we come to the words ‘Night had fallen,’ we know that the darkness which envelops us is within as well as without. There are many varieties of betrayal, not all of them as easy to identify as that of Judas. The ‘white lie’, the covert act of selfishness, the shabby evasion of responsibility, even the unconvincing ‘justifications’ we concoct in our pathetic attempts to excuse ourselves to ourselves, they are all a betrayal of what we know to be true. Today is a day to think about the ways in which we who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Saviour betray him by adopting ways of behaviour inconsistent with the gospel — not to beat ourselves up about them, but to ask mercy and forgiveness and firm purpose of amendment.

The tragedy of Judas is that he finally saw the awfulness of what he had done but forgot the infinite mercy and compassion of God.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail