Jesus reveals disciples must be slaves and cryptically reveals that Judas will betray Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Humility so he can more consistently imitate Jesus and by pursuing the Virtue of Fortitude so he can more consistently do God’s will. 

Liturgy

4th Week of Easter – Thursday – Jn 13:16-20

Commentary

As His Crucifixion draws near, Jesus prepares the Apostles for their mission to evangelize the world. He gathers the Apostles in the Upper Room, and taking on the acts of a lowly slave, sets the example of humble love by washing their feet. Now, Jesus reasserts His superiority and authority, and exhorts the Apostles to follow His example but reveals that one of them (Judas) will betray Him.  

Jesus makes His expectations clear to the Apostles. The Son of God, Jesus asserts His absolute authority over the Apostles: He refers to Himself as, “master”, or “Lord”, the original Greek word kyrios meaning, “a person exercising absolute ownership rights over another”; He refers to the Apostles as slaves (mistranslated as “servant”), the original Greek word doulos meaning, “someone who is owned by another.” As Jesus is absolutely submissive to, and has been sent by, the Father, so too must the Apostles be absolutely submissive to Him and be sent. But the way of a slave is not oppressive, but a blessing; Jesus promises that those who learn His ways and humbly serve others will be blessed. He reveals the startling truth that the Apostles are emissaries, not only of Him, but of God the Father, and that by their humble service, others will actually encounter God the Father and His Son.

Jesus further manifests His Divinity by mysteriously revealing His betrayal. Referring to a thousand-year-old prophecy (Ps 41:9), Jesus confirms that, “He who ate My bread has lifted his heel against Me”, indicating that one of them will betray Him (Judas); Jesus confirms that He is purposefully revealing His coming betrayal by one of His own to help the Apostles continue to believe in Him when the Passion occurs.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be impressed with the Divine Prudence of Jesus: Son of David, He uses David’s 1000-year-old Psalms to confirm the betrayal of Judas before it happens; He deliberately discloses the betrayal ahead of time to secure the Faith of the remaining Apostles when the chaos of the Passion takes place.

Be humble and seek to imitate Christ

Realize: Jesus’ example of humility and service in the washing of the Apostles’ feet, and His humble willingness to allow men to kill Him on a Cross, has inspired the greatest men in history to heroic and humble service to God and mankind; every Catholic man should turn from prideful independence and humbly seek to imitate Christ in all things. 

Believe: Commit to Imitate Christ (CCC 1693-1696).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Humility, help me grow in the Virtue of Humility (a part of Temperance) so I recognize my deep spiritual poverty and my desperate need for You to save me, so I reject my selfishness and pride, and so I seek to do Your will and imitate Your humble love in my every thought, word and deed; let me humbly and joyfully be strengthened by Your Most Precious Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. 

Grow in Fortitude to consistently do God’s Will

Realize: Jesus offers a stark contrast between His chosen Catholic men who selflessly serve Him by bringing the Gospel to the world, and those who deny and betray Him. 

Believe: Reflect upon How Men Betray Christ (CCC 598, 1851).

Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Fortitude so I am strengthened to never betray You by what I think and do (Sin of Commission), or by what I fail to think and do (Sin of Omission); help me to courageously persevere to seek and do Your Holy Will in all things.