Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Isaiah 49:1-6 (New Living Translation)

Isaiah 49

The Lord’s Servant Commissioned
1 Listen to me, all you in distant lands!
Pay attention, you who are far away!
The Lord called me before my birth;
from within the womb he called me by name.
2 He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword.
He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand.
I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel,
and you will bring me glory.”

4 I replied, “But my work seems so useless!
I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.
Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand;
I will trust God for my reward.”

5 And now the Lord speaks—
the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant,
who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him.
The Lord has honored me,
and my God has given me strength.
6 He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”


Psalm 71:1-14 (New International Version, ©2011)
Psalm 71
1 In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
6 From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
7 I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.
9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him.”
12 Do not be far from me, my God;
come quickly, God, to help me.
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.


John 13: 21 - 33, 36 - 38
Jesus Predicts His Death

[21] When Jesus had thus spoken, He was troubled in spirit, and testified,"Tru-
ly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." [22] The disciples looked at
one another, uncertain of whom He spoke. [23] One of His disciples, whom Je-
sus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; [24] so Simon Peter beckoned
to Him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom He speaks." [25] So lying thus, close
to the breast of Jesus, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" [26] Jesus answered,
"It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when He had
dipped the morsel, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. [27] Then after
the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to
do, do quickly." [28] Now no one at the table knew why He said this to him. [29]
Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him,
"Buy what you need for the feast"; or, that he should give something to the poor.
[30] So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night.

[31] When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and
in Him God is glorified; [32] if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in
Himself, and glorify Him at once. [33] Little children, yet a little while I am with
you. You will seek Me, and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I
am going you cannot come.'

[36] Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered,
"Where I am going you cannot follow Me now; but you shall follow afterward."
[37] Peter said to Him, "Lord, why cannot I follow You now? I will lay down my
life for You." [38] Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly,
truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied Me three times."



21. Christ's sadness is proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Judas was one
of those whom Jesus chose to be an Apostle: he had been on intimate terms with
Him for three years, he had followed Him everywhere, had seen His miracles, had
heard His divine teaching, and experienced the tenderness of His affection. And
despite all that, when the moment of truth comes, Judas not only abandons the
Master but betrays Him and sells Him. Betrayal by an intimate friend is some-
thing much more painful and cruel than betrayal by a stranger, for it involves a
lack of loyalty. The spiritual life of the Christian is also true friendship with Jesus;
this means it is based on loyalty and uprightness, and on being true to one's

Judas had already decided to hand Jesus over and had made arrangements with
the chief priests (cf. Matthew 26:14; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6). Temptation
had been burrowing its way into Judas' heart for some time back, as we saw at
the anointing at Bethany when he protested Mary's loving gesture; St. John com-
mented in that connection that he did it not out of love for the poor but because
he was a thief (cf. John 12:6).

23. In that period, on important occasions the customary thing was to eat recli-
ning on a kind of divan called a "triclinium". The diner rested on his left elbow and
ate with his right hand. This meant it was easy to lean on the person on one's left
and talk to him without people hearing. In this verse we can see the intimacy and
trust which obtained between the Master and the beloved disciple (cf. John 19:27;
20-2; 21:23), a model of Jesus' love for all His true disciples and of theirs for their

26-27. The morsel which Jesus offers him is a sign of friendship and, therefore, an
invitation to him to give up his evil plotting. But Judas rejects the chance he is of-
fered. "What he received is good", St. Augustine comments, "but he received it to
his own perdition, because he, being evil, received in an evil manner what is good"
("In Ioann. Evang.", 61, 6). Satan entering into him means that from that moment
Judas gave in completely to the devil's temptation.

29. "These details have been recorded that we may not bear ill will against those
who wrong us, but may reproach them and weep over them. Indeed, not those
who are wronged, but those who do wrong deserve our tears. For the covetous
man and the slanderer, and the man guilty of any other wrongdoing injure them-
selves most of all.[...] Christ repaid the man who was going to betray Him with
just the opposite. For example, He washed his feet, reproved him without bitter-
ness, censured him in private, ministered to him, allowed him to share in His ta-
ble and His kiss. Yet, though Judas did not become better because of these
things, Jesus Himself persevered in His course of action" (St. John Chrysostom,
"Hom. on St. John", 71, 4).

30. The indication that "it was night" is not just a reference to the time of day but
to darkness as an image of sin, an image of the power of darkness whose hour
was beginning at that very moment (cf. Luke 22:53). The contrast between light
and darkness, the opposition of good and evil, is frequently met with in the Bible,
especially in the Fourth Gospel: even in the prologue we are told that Christ is
the true Light which the darkness has not overcome (cf. John 1:5).

31-32. This glorification refers above all to the glory which Christ will receive once
He is raised up on the cross (John 3:14; 12:32). St. John stresses that Christ's
death is the beginning of His victory: His very crucifixion can be considered the
first step in His ascension to His Father. At the same time it is glorification of
the Father, because Christ, by voluntarily accepting death out of love, as a su-
preme act of obedience to the Will of God, performs the greatest sacrifice man
can offer for the glorification of God. The Father will respond to this glorification
which Christ offers Him by glorifying Christ as Son of Man, that is, in His holy
human nature, through His resurrection and ascension to God's right hand. Thus
the glory which the Son gives the Father is at the same time glory for the Son.

Christ's disciple will also find His highest motivation by identifying himself with
Christ's obedience. St. Paul teaches this very clearly when he says: "Far be it
from me to glory except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14).

33. From this verse onwards the evangelist recounts what is usually called the
discourse of the Last Supper; in it we can distinguish three parts. In the first,
our Lord begins by proclaiming the New Commandment (verses 33-35) and pre-
dicts Peter's denials (verses 36-38); He tells them that His death means His
going to His Father (Chapter 14), with Whom He is one because He is God (ver-
ses 1-14); and He announces that after His resurrection He will send them the
Holy Spirit, who will guide them by teaching them and reminding them of every-
thing He told them (verses 15-31).

The second part of the discourse is contained in Chapters 15 and 16. Jesus pro-
mises to those who believe in Him a new life of union with Him, as intimate as
that of a vine and its branches (15:1-18). To attain this union one must keep His
New Commandment (verses 9-18). He forewarns them about the contradictions
they will suffer, and He encourages them by promising the Holy Spirit who will
protect them and console them (verses 18-27). The action of the Paraclete or
Consoler will lead them to fulfill the mission Jesus has entrusted to them (16:1
-15). The fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit will be fullness of joy (verses 16-

The third part (Chapter 7) gives Jesus' priestly prayer, in which He asks the
Father to glorify Him through the cross (verses 1-5). He prays also for His disci-
ples (verses 6-19) and for all those who through them will believe in Him, so that,
staying in the world without being of the world, the love of God should be in them
and they should bear witness to Christ being the envoy of the Father (verses 20-

36-38. Once again Peter in his simplicity and sincerity tells his Master that he is
ready to follow Him even to the point of dying for Him. But he is not yet ready for
that. Our Lord, St. Augustine comments, "establishes here a delay; He does not
destroy the hope, indeed He confirms it by saying, 'You shall follow afterwards!
Why are you in haste, Peter? As yet the rock has not made you strong inwardly:
do not be brought down by your presumption. Now you cannot follow Me, but do
not despair: later you will'" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 66, 1). Peter had certainly meant
what he said, but his resolution was not very solid. Later on he would develop a
fortitude based on humility; then, not considering himself worthy to die in the
way his Master did, he will die on a cross, head downwards, rooting in the soil of
Rome that solid stone which endures in those who succeed him and forming the
basis on which the Church, which is indefectible, is built. Peter's denials, which
are signs of his weakness, were amply compensated for by his profound repen-
tance. "Let everyone draw from this example of contrition, and if he has fallen let
him not despair, but always remember that he can become worthy of forgiveness"
(St. Bede, "In Ioann. Evang. Expositio, in loc".).


Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries".  Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.  We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.