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ARE WE TRUE FRIENDS TO JESUS?

Father Francis's picture
Holy Week

Is. 42:1-7 & Jn. 12, 1-11

My name is Judas Iscariot. I’ve been with Jesus for three years, travelling around Galilee and listening to His preaching. When I first met Him I felt sure that He was the Messiah for whom we have all been waiting, who will free us from Roman rule. He seems to be a born leader, crowds follow Him everywhere and He keeps telling us He is going to set up a kingdom. There's no doubt that He has some special power. I've seen for myself how He's healed sick people, and even raised Lazarus from the dead. Surely a man who can do all those things would be an ideal king, I thought, but just lately I've begun to have doubts.

Why is it all taking so long? For three years Jesus has been gathering support yet He doesn't make any attempt to seize power. And why is it that our religious leaders hate Him so much? I sometimes think He goes out of His way to annoy them, flouting the laws we are all supposed to obey.

Today's events have really upset me. We came here to Bethany to visit Martha and Mary, and their brother Lazarus, the man Jesus raised from the dead. We all sat down to eat, and suddenly Mary produced a jar of ointment, the most expensive that money can buy, and she began to anoint Jesus' feet with it. What a waste of money! I calculated what it must have cost, and I protested to Jesus: 'Wouldn't this money have been better spent on the poor?' To my amazement He retorted: "Leave her alone. If you want to help the poor, you'll have plenty of opportunities because they will always be with you. “

Why did Jesus take her side? More and more, I feel I don't belong in this company. Jesus has been my friend, it's true, but He is not the man I thought He was, and I feel disillusioned and let down. I've heard that the Sanhedrin had a meeting last week to decide what to do about Him.

They are saying that, if He isn't silenced, the Romans will intervene and take away even more of our freedom. Perhaps they are right. Of course, Caiaphas and the Pharisees don’t know where Jesus is at this moment, and they are all wondering whether He will turn up for the Passover in Jerusalem. I could lead them to Him. I wonder how much they would pay me to hand Him over? Yes, I wonder ...

Well, we know that Judas did hand Jesus over to the authorities, but why? What made him betray his friend? Was it because he was disappointed that Jesus did not meet his expectations? Did he feel unappreciated because he was not one of the inner circle of apostles? Was he greedy?

We know that he was a thief, so he may have been tempted by the offer of money. It is impossible to know all the motives in a person's mind.

Judas seems to have followed Jesus because he wanted something from Him.

Mary, on the other hand, only wanted to give Him something and through her expensive gift wanted to demonstrate her love, and gratitude. Are we sometimes like Judas, treating Jesus as our friend for what we can get from Him, and disappointed when our prayers have not been answered?

Should we not try to be more like Mary, full of love for Him and wanting to spend as much time with Him as possible?

Is today's Old Testament reading, the first of the Servant Songs from Isaiah, the Father’s favourite Scripture passage? “Here is My Servant whom I uphold, My chosen One in whom My soul delights.” So like the words the Father spoke at His Son’s Baptism! The reading goes on to tell us what the Father expects of His Son: “I have appointed You as covenant of the people and light of the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.”

Lord Jesus, like Mary, we have so much for which we should thank You, encourage us to spend as much time as we can during this Holy Week with You, remembering the price You paid in pain and abandonment in order to gain Heaven for us.

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