Wednesday of Holy Week




Wednesday of Holy Week

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 259

1st Reading – IS 50:4-9A

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 AND 33-34

R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving:
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Verse Before The Gospel

Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our errors.

Or

Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel – MT 26:14-25

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, AMy appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Stuck in Denial

The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.” Matthew 26:24-25

Was Judas in denial? Did he truly think that he was not the one who was to betray Jesus? We do not know for certain what was going on in Judas’ mind, but one thing is clear…he did betray Jesus. And it appears from his words that he didn’t see his act as a betrayal and, therefore, he was in deep denial.

Denial, if written out as an acronym, has been said to mean that I “don’t even know I am lying.” Perhaps Judas was so steeped in his own sin that he couldn’t even admit to himself, let alone to others, that he was lying and preparing to betray Jesus for money. This is a scary thought.

It’s scary because it reveals one of the effects of persistent sin. Persistent sin makes sin easier. And eventually, when one persists in the same sin, that sin is easily rationalized, justified and denied as sin altogether. When one gets stuck in this downward spiral of persistent sin it’s hard to get out. And often the only way to survive the psychological tension is to remain in denial.

This is an important lesson for us this Holy Week. Sin is never fun to look at and takes great courage to do so. But imagine if Judas would have actually confessed to what he was about to do. Imagine if he would have broken down in front of Jesus and the other Apostles and told them the whole truth. Perhaps that act of honesty would have saved his life and his eternal soul. It would have been painful and humiliating for him to do so, but it would have been the right thing to do.

The same is true with you. Perhaps you are not at a point where your sin is leading you to outright betrayal of Jesus, but everyone can find some pattern of sin in their lives this Holy Week. You must seek to discover, with God’s help, some pattern or habit you have formed. What a great discovery this would be if you could then face this sin with honesty and courage. This would enable you to shed any bit of denial regarding your sin and enable you to conquer that sin so as to discover the freedom God wants you to experience!

Reflect, today, upon Judas saying to Jesus, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” This sad statement from Judas must have deeply wounded our Lord’s Heart as He witnessed the denial of Judas. Reflect, also, upon the many times that you deny your sin, failing to sincerely repent. Make this Holy Week a time for honesty and integrity. The Lord’s mercy is so deep and pure that, if you would understand it, you would have no need to remain in any form of denial of your sins.

Lord, help me this Holy Week to have the courage I need to face my sin and weakness. I am a sinner, dear Lord, but it can be very hard for me to admit it. May I entrust my sin to You so that I may be set free and receive, in its place, Your abundant mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.

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