The Last Supper
Every year, the Church celebrates the "Easter Triduum" as the final three days of the season of Lent and the conclusion of Holy Week. By way of reflection, If you don't mind, I'd like to chime in along the way with a few observations and thoughts that might be beneficial.
It all begins with the Mass of the Lord's Supper, commemorating the establishment of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It was at the Last Supper that Jesus ordained the Apostles to be the first priests (bishops, for that matter) of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, he gave them the faculties to perform the sacred liturgy from that time on, and to hand down that authority to their successors so that future generations would be able to share in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
This is the night when Jesus tells his dearest friends that one of them will betray him. The heads turn - who could it be? I've often wondered how many of the Apostles immediately suspected Judas. John tells us in his gospel of an incident in which Judas objected to Lazarus's sister Mary using expensive perfumed oil to anoint Jesus rather than selling it and giving the money to the poor. John bluntly states that Judas did so not because he cared for the poor, but because he carried the money purse and stole from it regularly (John 12:1-8).
Why would someone so close to the Lord day in and day out do such a thing? More than that, how could he go so far as to betray Jesus into the hands of the authorities? I think it all boils down to this: none of it was playing out the way Judas thought it would. Jesus was not the kind of messiah Judas had imagined and longed for his whole life. When faced with the challenge of changing himself, of truly repenting, Judas instead grew disillusioned, disappointed, and likely filled with dread over the coming persecutions that Christ frequently predicted. In the final analysis, his fall didn't happen in a moment. It spread slowly like a cancer in his soul.
I for one don't want to follow in his footsteps. Does each new day find me following the real Jesus, even when I have difficulty accepting some of the things he says, or rather creating a Jesus that I think I like better? I think this is one of the most difficult challenges we face today when it comes to genuine discipleship. Will I follow the Christ who is, or will I follow the Christ I build up to suit my own desires and plans? Maybe the best way to put it is this: who's in charge? God or me?