First Reading: Ex 12:1-8. 11-14; Psalm: 116. R. v. 1Cor 10:16; Second Reading: 1Cor 11:23-26; Gospel: Jn 13:1-15



Did Judas Receive the Bread and the Cup? | Unto Him

It is difficult to forgive a friend who betrays us; and even more difficult to forgive when a friend plans evil against us and pretend as though all is fine without any speck of guilt or desire to repent from the impending plan. But in the case of Jesus, there would have been no struggle in forgiving Judas even to the slightest degree had Judas repented. For as we can see, Jesus never struggled in loving Judas either. Jesus loved Judas as he loved the rest of his disciples even when he knew Judas was planning to betray him.

When Jesus got up from table to wash the feet of his disciples as a sign of his love and service; he did not get to Judas and looked at him with contempt and anger. He did not in dislike bypass Judas whom he knew will betray him with a fake kiss of love. But when he got to where Judas was, Jesus stooped down and washed his feet with care and love as he did to the rest of his disciples. Judas ate with Jesus from the same table. He ate with Jesus from the same dish. Judas was at the table pretending as if they were one; as though he belonged; but he was far from that table.

Jesus’ eyes met his when he said; “Take; this is my body which is broken for you. . . This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Lk 22:19-20). But Judas didn’t budge. If there was the best opportunity for Judas to repent from his evil plan, it was at that time when Jesus announced; “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (Jn 13:21). This message was so direct. Judas knew that Jesus was aware of his plan and was addressing him. He knew his plan was evil. He knew that Jesus would be hurt and disappointed if he went on with his plan. He knew Jesus was giving him a chance to repent. Yet Judas did not budge still. He left to betray his master.

What is it that makes a sin mortal and grievous? The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that for a sin to be mortal, it must meet three conditions: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1857). The first condition is that the sin has to be grave. The second condition is that the sin has to be committed with full knowledge that that very act is sinful. And the third condition is that the sin has to be committed with complete consent; that is, out of personal choice without duress. Judas’ act met these three conditions. Betrayal to death is gravely evil. Judas knew this. Yet Judas chose to go on.

“Mortal sin destroys the charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1855). Judas’ heart was completely turned away from God because he preferred money, an inferior good, to Christ his Lord and God. And it is sad that he made this choice at the Last Supper. And to crown it all, he partook in the Eucharistic meal.

As we celebrate today the Mass of the Lord’s Supper; the day when Christ instituted the Eucharist; today could be the right time to ask: Are there still betrayers at the Lord’s Table? Are there still Judases who pretend to belong but are far from the fold? Do we still have Judases who listen to Christ’s call of love but still choose to do their selfish bidding? Do we still have those who live unperturbed in mortal sin yet partake sanctimoniously in the Eucharistic meal? Perhaps we are the Judas of today. We could be doing worse than the man we all criticised for betraying Jesus. Who is the betrayer at table?   

The betrayer at table is you and me when we plan to do harm to those who have shown us so much love. It is you and me when Christ exposes our sins within our consciences yet we refuse to budge or repent from them. It is you and me when we choose to commit evil with full knowledge and consent that if offends Christ our Lord and master. It is you and me when we put up a sanctimonious show at Mass but become an enemy once the Mass is ended. It is you and me when we receive Christ into our hearts and then betray him in our words and actions. We are the betrayer at table.

So, on this evening when we commemorate the hour when Christ instituted the Most Holy Eucharist; let us allow this great moment of love from Christ to transform us. The moment when Christ loved us to the end (Jn 13:1). The moment he washed and kissed our feet. The moment he gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink. The moment he commanded us to do this in memory of him. If we understood the depth of this love moment; we will allow it to change us and not become another betrayer at table.


Lord Jesus, we thank you for the gift of the Eucharist. May this most sacred gift sanctify us to become faithful disciples of love and not another betrayer at table. Amen.

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