First reading Isaiah 49:1-6

I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth

Islands, listen to me,
pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
 
He made my mouth a sharp sword,
and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow,
and concealed me in his quiver.
 
He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)
in whom I shall be glorified’;
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing’;
 
and all the while my cause was with the Lord,
my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.
 
And now the Lord has spoken,
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
to gather Israel to him:
 
‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light of the nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 70(71):1-6,15,17

My lips will tell of your help.
 
In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
  let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, free me:
  pay heed to me and save me.
 
Be a rock where I can take refuge,
  a mighty stronghold to save me;
  for you are my rock, my stronghold.
Free me from the hand of the wicked.
 
It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
  my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
  from my mother’s womb you have been my help.
 
My lips will tell of your justice
  and day by day of your help.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
  and I proclaim your wonders still.
 
 

Gospel John 13:21-33,36-38

‘What you are going to do, do quickly’

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.
  When he had gone Jesus said:
 
‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.
 
‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me,
And, as I told the Jews,
where I am going, you cannot come.’
 
Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’
 
 
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Denial and betrayal

Jesus spent time with his closest friends at the last moments of his life by having the Last Supper with them. “Night had fallen”- after Judas’ departure. The darkness was not just external; it reflected the internal state of Judas’ heart. He silently made his plans and set the whole passion story in motion. Meanwhile, Peter made a promise, “I will lay down my life for you”, and it was something that he did not keep. Yet, Jesus never stopped loving them to the end.
 
We too have walked away from Jesus and betrayed Him in moments of our lives when we failed to love the people around us. Today, Jesus knows our limitations and weaknesses, yet he continues to stay close to us and love us to the end. He calls us “Friends” (John 15:15), because this is who we are for Him despite our mistakes and faults. As we spend time with Jesus, let us be grateful for the depth of His love and ask Him to give us the grace to love Him faithfully to the end.
 
Reflective question:
Do I treasure the friendship of Jesus?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year B” by Sr Maria Jose FMVD.