PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION
(Red) Cycle B/Year II (March 25, 2018)
Is 50:4-7/ Phil 2:6-11/ Mk 14:1 – 15:47
One of the saddest moments in Jesus’ life was when one of His Apostles, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him. It was unimaginable that a closed disciple of Jesus would betray Him. In fact, Judas was with Jesus for three consecutive years, listening to all His preaching, witnessing all His miracles, following Him wherever He went. But then it happened. And maybe, this is still happening today in the sense that we too betray Jesus in one way or another. We need to examine our conscience.
Jesus was betrayed by a close friend. Judas stayed with Jesus throughout Jesus’ public ministry and Jesus loved him together with the other Apostles. Judas then was not a stranger; he was a close friend of Jesus. Many of us treat Jesus as a close friend. We feel that we are close to Jesus just as He is certainly close to us. But being close to Jesus is not a guarantee that we do not or will not betray Him. Perhaps we betray Jesus because we only follow some of His teachings that are easy to do and do not observe His more difficult teachings. Maybe we betray Him because we follow other teachings that are not in accordance with His teachings; or because we do not do our obligations well; or we are lukewarm in our relationship with Him, etc.
Jesus was betrayed by a lover of money. Judas was a thief who used to steal money from the money box of the group. Moreover, it was the opportunity to make money that led him to betray Jesus. Just like Judas, we can have problem with money. Maybe we too much preoccupy ourselves with having money as to forget to give importance to our relationship with God. Possibly, we love money more than God as to prioritize money making activities even on Sundays. Maybe we steal money from the money box of the government or of the company or of our relative. Perhaps we are dishonest with money and cheat other people in business or other transactions. Doing any of these things makes us like Judas and will certainly bring us to perdition.
Jesus was betrayed by a show of affection. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The display of affection does not guarantee faithfulness. Many of us think that the more we become emotional with our prayer the more we become closer to God. We have to remember that emotion is unstable feeling that it may come and go. Yet our relationship and faith in God must always be stable. Emotion can be helpful to strengthen our faith and relationship with God but our emotion must come from faith and not faith from emotion. Otherwise we are led to emotionalism and not faith. Faith comes from listening to the Word of God.
Jesus was betrayed by a mistaken disciple. Maybe Judas was not only motivated by money but also by power. He saw that Jesus was so slow in acting as a political Messiah and so he believed that His betrayal of Jesus would force Jesus to act. Like Judas, we maybe forcing or tempting God. We have created our personal idea of God that our faith becomes weak when we see things not in accordance with our expectation or when we think that God must do something more for us and nothing is happening. We may be giving conditions in our relationship with God or in our service to God and His Church. If we are like this, we are not true disciple. A disciple simply follows Jesus and obeys His teachings without complaint and with perseverance.
Judas betrayed Jesus through the influence of Satan. Indeed, the devil is doing his work and up to these days, the more he is active in influencing us to betray Jesus and to separate ourselves from the love of God. But we must learn from the mistake of Judas. Judas fell into the temptation of Satan through his love of money, emotionalism, mistaken ideas of God and discipleship and preoccupation of self. Let us avoid these temptations and flee from the influence of Satan. We must resist the devil and be steadfast in our faith.