Weekday Gospel Reflection

Monday of Holy Week

John 12:1-11 - World English Bible

1 Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him. 3 Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 Then Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said, 5 "Why wasn't this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?" 6 Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it. 7 But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of my burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you don't always have me."

9 A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

In John 12, Jesus traveled to the family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Passover was less than a week away and they shared a meal with him. During the meal, Mary poured an expensive, fragrant perfume on his feet and dried his feet with her hair, reminiscent of the woman who anointed him in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9. In all three passages, he understood the anointing as preparation for his burial; in all three, he stated that "poor you will have with you always, but you don't always have me." In other words, the pouring of the perfume had prophetic significance. John mentioned the reaction of Judas in 12:4-6 to foreshadow his betrayal and to exclude the disciple from the others as an unbeliever.

12:9-11 mentioned two details that foreshadowed the death of Jesus: the curiosity of the crowd and the intents of the leaders. People came to see the miracle maker and the one he raised from the dead; the leaders meant to blunt that curiosity to keep the populace in line. At the death of Jesus, people came to see the once great healer die shamefully at the hands of the leaders; yet, that death would be a sign of God's presence and power, challenging the onlooker to believe.

Does the sight of Jesus on the cross challenge your faith?

Top of the page
Tuesday of Holy Week

John 13:21-33, 36-38 - World English Bible

21 Jesus was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me."

22 The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus' breast. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks."

25 He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast, asked him, "Lord, who is it?"

26 Jesus therefore answered, "It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him.

Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."

28 Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus said to him, "Buy what things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor. 30 Therefore having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night.

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately."

36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?"

Jesus answered, "Where I am going, you can't follow now, but you will follow afterwards."

37 Peter said to him, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."

38 Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for me? Most certainly I tell you, the rooster won't crow until you have denied me three times."

In John 13, Jesus celebrated the Passover in Jerusalem. Throughout this gospel, he would appear in the capital, then withdraw, so the leaders did not have the opportunity to arrest him. But, in this scene, he realized they were drawing closer and his betrayer would soon spring into action. The evangelist advanced this movement through asides (13:22-24).

In the first century AD, Jews ate in the Greek style, that is, laying in a circle, with food in the center, taking pieces of bread and dipping the pieces into shared bowls of sauces. Eating together and literally sharing food took on a symbolic significance. Like a family dinner, eating together not only strengthens family bonds because of the interaction between its members, the act of sharing food can define the group itself. The meal described who the group is and help describe its destiny. When the Lord dipped his bread in the bowl at the same time as the Iscariot, he indicated they shared a certain fate. Judas, in his shameful way, would act to fulfill the glory of Jesus, a destiny that would reveal the Father and his relationship with his Son (13:31-32). This was a glory Jesus would endure alone, despite the protestations of Peter.

What can you do today to prepare for the glory of Jesus on the cross?

Top of the page
Wednesday in Holy Week

Matthew 26:14-25 - World English Bible

14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, "What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver Jesus to you?" They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

17 Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"

18 He said, "Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples."'"

19 The disciples did as Jesus commanded them, and they prepared the Passover. 20 Now when evening had come, he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 As they were eating, he said, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me."

22 They were exceedingly sorrowful, and each began to ask him, "It isn't me, is it, Lord?"

23 He answered, "He who dipped his hand with me in the dish, the same will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born."

25 Judas, who betrayed him, answered, "It isn't me, is it, Rabbi?"

He said to him, "You said it."

Like the gospel from Tuesday in Holy Week, today's gospel presented the betrayal scene from the Last Supper, but with a slightly different view. The passage began with Judas conspiring to hand over the Lord to the religious leaders; for his efforts, the Iscariot would receive the infamous "thirty pieces of silver" (according to some scholars, about four months wages).

Other disciples went to prepare the Passover meal, then Jesus and his inner circle met to celebrate the ritual supper. During the meal, he announced one would betray him. When pressed about the identity of the traitor, he indicated with the dipping of bread in a bowl of sauce at the same time as the betrayer. The act of such a man was so shameful, "it would have been better if he had not been born" (26:24)

When Judas asked, "Is it I?" Jesus responded, "You said it." The wheels of the plot to kill the Lord were set in motion.

Do you anticipate the celebration of Jesus' death with dread, resignation or both? Why?

Top of the page