Wednesday of Holy Week
An offering with ‘So-and-so in the city’ (Matthew 26: 14-25). Yes, Lord, I was expecting you but sometimes your timing takes me by surprise, or when you come I don’t recognise you. I’d like to be always at your disposal: prepare my heart. Amen. Tom Shufflebotham SJ
Entering into prayer
Choose a way to enter into prayer from earlier in Lent or any method that you prefer.
Today's Scripture (Matthew 26:14-25)
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I betray him to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, “The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.” ’ So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ He answered, ‘The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’ Judas, who betrayed him, said, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ He replied, ‘You have said so.’
Food for thought
Today is sometimes called “Spy Wednesday”, when Judas is thought to have offered to betray Jesus. Only in Matthew’s account does it mention that he actually asked for money; and the alert reader will notice that what he gets is the contemptible price, “thirty silver coins”, offered to the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 11:12).
Suggestions for Prayer
How are we to pray this grim moment? First, you might try and drink in the atmosphere that Matthew creates, “then comes one of the Twelve, the one known as ‘Judas Iscariot’, to the High Priests, and said, ‘What are you willing to give me? Then I’ll betray him to you’.” Then the evangelist comments “from that moment, he started to look for a window of opportunity to betray him”.
You cannot get grimmer than that.
But it gets worse; rather belatedly, the “disciples” wake up to the fact that they should have done something about organising eating the Passover, and they are given a coded signal: “The Teacher says: my moment is at hand. I’m doing Passover at your place with my disciples”. You might be there with those disciples as they scratch their heads and wonder what they have got wrong.
Then the Passover meal, the moment of greatest joy in the Jewish year, turns sour as Jesus, “lying down with the Twelve” predicts that “one of you is going to betray me”, and in turn they ask, “It’s not me, is it, Lord?”; while last of all Judas calls him “Rabbi” (a title which has already been forbidden to Jesus’ followers, and which he will use again when he leads the arresting party), while asking “It’s not me, is it?” You might reflect on the mood created by Jesus’ response: “you said it”.
How are you going to respond today?
How will you live through today? Feel the mood of this reading, and allow the Lord to speak to you through it. Reach out in prayer and perhaps ask “It’s not me, is it?” Then listen for the answer.
Image for the Day
What do you see in the picture?
Can you imagine what it was like for the disciples?
Imagine the scene....
Examen (review of prayer)
At the end of your prayer or your day, whatever works for you, you can look back and ask: Does it have something to say to you? How does it make you feel? Imagine how God might reply.
Conversation: When you come towards the end of your time of prayer, talk to God about what has come up for you. End with a formal prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father.