Our Denial

Scripture Reading

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”
(John 13:21-33, 36-38)

Scripture Study

13:22 uncertain of whom: Judas successfully camouflages his malice from the other disciples.

13:23 whom Jesus loved: i.e., the Apostle John. lying close: Festal meals were eaten, not in a sitting position, but in a reclining position on cushions spread around a short table.

13:27 after the morsel, Satan: Although Judas is sharing a meal with Jesus, he is feeding on the lies of the devil (8:44). The darkness that fills him draws him out into the “night” (13:30).

13:31 God is glorified: It is precisely when Christ accepts his suffering at the hands of evil men that he shows us the dimensions of God’s love for the world (Rom 5:8; Jn 3:16).

13:34 new commandment: The Torah commanded human love for ourselves and our neighbor (Lev 19:18). Jesus commands divine love for one another that is modeled on his own acts of charity and generosity (15:13; 1 Jn 3:16–18). This supernatural love comes not from us but from the Spirit (Rom 5:5; CCC 1822–29).

13:37 lay down my life: Peter is probably sincere but certainly overconfident. Soon his bravery will be crushed under the weight of human fear (18:25–27).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus foretells the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter, both of which are fulfilled in the accounts of the Passion. The story opens with the account of Judas’ betrayal. For a few lousy coins, he turns his back on his friend, his mentor. When we are in the grip of self-absorption, we will do anything, hurt anyone to get what we want, even for just a few dollars in return.

Once it was clear that Jesus was to be arrested, his disciples—all of whom had just protested their undying love—“left him and fled.” When they are called upon to take a stand, they flee. This is spiritual cowardice, and again, fellow sinners, how well do we know it?

Then we hear of Peter in the courtyard. Obviously, his denial is on display. He betrays Jesus three times, an act of cowardice on par with Judas’. These Gospel passages force us to examine our conscience. How have we betrayed Jesus? How have we denied him?

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.