AFTER HIS DISCOURSE TO THE DISCIPLES concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the last things, Jesus added a few prophetic words reminding His followers of what was to happen in the immediate future, His betrayal and crucifixion.
“You know that after two days the Passover will be here; and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
That night Jesus remained with His followers on Mount Olivet. On Wednesday morning He returned to the Temple as usual, and spent the day teaching.
His enemies, meanwhile, the chief priests and the elders of Israel, had assembled at the court of the high priest Caiphas, and were conspiring on how they could conveniently seize and execute Jesus.
They were agreed that the arrest should not take place on the feast, lest the people should be provoked to riot. But while they were discussing the matter, their difficulties were solved by the arrival of one of the disciples themselves, Judas Iscariot, who offered to betray his master to them for a price.
Judas seems to have been disillusioned when Jesus made it plain to the disciples that His kingdom was not an earthly one and that, on the contrary, His followers were to be persecuted for their faith in Him. Greedy and ambitious, He sought for some opportunity to salvage his fortunes, and he found it in the conspiracy of the Sanhedrin to arrest Christ.
All he could offer Christ’s enemies was his knowledge of Christ’s habits: when the Master could be seized discreetly, apart from the people. But this was sufficient for the Jewish leaders; all that remained to be done was to seal the bargain.
“What are you willing to give me,” said the traitor, “and I will deliver Him to you?”
Gladly, without haggling, they agreed to give him thirty pieces of silver. And Judas began watching for an occasion to deliver Jesus to them.
Meditation: Our Lord was betrayed by one of His closest friends. He had singled out Judas to be one of the dozen men on whom He was to build the foundation of His Church. He must have had qualities that Jesus loved. His potentiality for sanctity must have been great. He spent three years in close association with Jesus. Yet he failed. Do I allow myself to be a trifle smug about the years of virtuous living I have to my credit? Or do I pray earnestly for perseverance in the practice of my holy religion?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 223-224. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.