Today’s liturgy takes us right to the beginning of the Last Supper, an apt preparation for the liturgy we’ll be celebrating tomorrow evening on Holy Thursday. We see two plans in motion: Judas has made a deal with the chief priests to hand Jesus over when the time is right, and Our Lord prepares for his last meal on earth with his disciples. Our Lord’s been preparing them for what is about to happen: he warned them that he would be handed over and put to death (cf. Matthew 17:22), but now he warns them too that one of them will betray them. In John’s account of Jesus’ last days on earth we see him taking precautions, so it is no surprise that someone close to him would have to betray him.
Even though he tells Judas that he knows it will be him, and that it’ll be the worst mistake of his life (“better for that man if he had never been born”), Judas is set on his path; perhaps he thinks Our Lord is bluffing, trying to flush him out. There’s no way to know what was in his blackened heart. Our Lord, knowing his own path leads to the Cross, is also prepared in the Last Supper to share what would be two of the Church’s greatest gifts: the Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood.
Whether you attend the Chrism Mass tomorrow or the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, use these last few days of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum to examine your heart and see what path you’re on: following Christ’s is the surest and the safest, even though it passes through the Cross. Don’t be shocked if there’s a little bit of Judas in you to purge before taking up your cross and following Christ.