Isaiah 50:4-9
Matthew 26:14-25


Today’s readings meditate on how a faithful disciple can suffer betrayal and insult and how this culminates in the betrayal of Jesus.  The reading from Isaiah 50 describes one who has been gifted with a disciple’s tongue.  He listens to the Lord so that he may know ‘how to reply to the wearied’.  He is rejected and insulted, yet he stands firm, confident in the Lord’s vindication: ‘The Lord is coming to my help; who dare condemn me?’  Psalm 68 reinforces this theme by addressing the Lord himself – the disciple prays in anguish since his fidelity to the Lord has alienated him even from his ‘own mother’s sons’.  Yet the Psalmist affirms with praise that the Lord hears him; he ‘listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains’.  Today’s Gospel, from Matthew 26, depicts the betrayal of Jesus, who, for Christians, is the ultimate disciple of the Lord, the one in whom the Word of God is made flesh, sharing our lives and sufferings.  Here, Jesus suffers betrayal by one of the Twelve, a betrayal perpetrated on the feast of the Passover, the commemoration of the liberation of the children of Israel from slavery.  Jesus is aware of the betrayal but remains faithful to his proclamation of the Kingdom: like the disciple in Isaiah 50, ‘For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away.’

Robert Gascoigne is a parishioner at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.  He is a theologian who taught for many years at the Australian Catholic University.