Why did Jesus choose Judas as a close companion?
Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Thursday of Holy Week, 24 March 2016.
This evening’s Mass is full of light and dark, beauty and horror.
Jesus gets up from table and begins to wash his disciples’ feet, those feet stained by the unwept streets of Jerusalem, callous and worn. What did he think as he went from one disciple to the other, to James, and Philip, Simon and Matthew, to all the ones who would abandon him, to Peter who will deny him and to Judas who will betray him?
Why did he choose Judas as one of his closest companions, knowing that Judas would betray him to a horrible death? Jesus chose him particularly for that reason. He must experience betrayal. Jesus knew that members of his Church, from the highest to the lowest, would be treacherous again and again. He wanted to take on the sin of the world, and so must experience its appalling horror and the scandalous crimes of his followers.
We have seen treachery in this parish where not one but two of the priests have abused the most vulnerable, our children. Jesus wanted to be handed over to death by his chosen disciple precisely so that he could be with the victims and families of this parish. He wanted to share their grief; he wanted to be with them in their deep anger.
Fr Kevin, concelebrating this evening’s Mass, is celebrating his 60th anniversary of ordination this year. I have been ordained for 42 years. We try to be good priests, and hope, in some small way, to make up for the terrible sins and crimes of the two former parish priests. We feel for the victims, but can never match the compassion of Jesus. Nevertheless, may our distress be of value to them.
Jesus returns to the table and gives himself as body and blood to his disciples. He wishes to die for the very friends who will reject him, and indeed for the whole world in all its mess. We too are invited by his gift to give ourselves for each other, to undertake never to betray in any way but to be faithful and incomparably generous. Then at last we will be worthy of him who died for us, and worthy of each other.
Fr John Dupuche PE.