Tuesday of Holy Week: Love, Denial, and Betrayal
In his Last Supper story, John interweaves two contrasting strands: the apparent failure and ultimate triumph of Jesus. Even among the Twelve, one close follower would betray Jesus; another would deny him, and in general they did not grasp what he tried to tell them on the eve of his Passion. But the Evangelist knows that Jesus himself faced this supreme trial with a firm hope that all would be well, that “God will also glorify him in himself.” This is also our hope, as we gather around his memory, in loving prayer, this Holy Week.
Contrasting responses to Jesus
Today’s gospel portrays responses to Jesus on the part of his disciples as he begins the final days of his earthly life. Judas heads off into the dark, while the disciple Jesus loved is described as reclining next to Jesus, literally, “close to his chest.” In his very first chapter the evangelist described Jesus as “close to the chest of the Father” (or in the Father’s bosom). It seems that this beloved disciple has a relationship with Jesus similar to Jesus’ own relationship with the Father.
The Gospel portrays this disciple as the kind of person we are all called to become. This disciple is not named in John’s gospel, because we are all invited to put our own name on him; we are to identify with him and become like him. For the fourth evangelist, we are all called to the same relationship with Jesus as the beloved disciple had. We are called to be as close to Jesus as he is to his Father. That is why Jesus goes on to say, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love, as I remain in his love.” He wants us to have that same relationship with him as he has with his Father. That is something worth pondering, during this Holy Week.
~ Excerpted from The Association of Catholic Priests.