Reclining at table with his disciples,
Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”
(Jn 13, 21-33, 36-38 NAB)
The icon of the last supper above provides a compelling image of the scene that Saint John provides in today's Gospel reading. There is Judas, morsel in hand, leaving the table. Satan has entered him and his lack of a halo portrays his enmity to the Lord and the his followers. We also see the disciple whom Jesus loved with his head on the Lord's chest. All of the Disciples appear intent on Him, except Judas. And, Judas is clearly in motion and moving away from the Lord, even his feet are pointed outward from the table. Notice, too, that Christ is posed as though giving a blessing and His eyes appear to be looking directly at the viewer.
Christ knew what was coming. He knew of Judas' betrayal and the Passion that He was about to suffer. Yet, from this position of weakness, surrounded by those that would not remain faithful and in the presence of Satan himself, present in Judas, Christ offers us--all of us believers throughout all of time--the blessing of His redemptive love.
Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ!
IMAGE: Simon Ushakov's Last Supper.