18 I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' 19 I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me."
Meditation: How do you treat people who have caused you grief
or disappointment, especially those who might be related to you in bonds
of friendship or kinship? In his last supper discourse, Jesus addressed
the issue of fidelity and disloyalty in relationships. Jesus knew beforehand
that one of his own disciples would betray him. Such knowledge
could have easily led Jesus to distance himself from such a man and to
protect himself from harmís way. Instead, Jesus shows affection and
loyalty to those who were his own, even to the one he knew would do violence
to him through betrayal. Jesus used a quotation from Psalm 4:9 which describes
an act of treachery by oneís closest friend. In the culture of Jesusí
day, to eat bread with someone was a gesture of friendship and trust.
Jesus extends such friendship
to Judas right at the moment when Judas is conspiring to betray his master. The expression lift his heel against me reinforces the brute nature of this act of violence. Jesus loved his disciples to the end and proved his faithfulness to them even to death on the cross. Through his death and resurrection Jesus opened a new way of relationship and friendsh ip with God. Jesus tells his disciples that if they accept him they also accept the Father who sent him. This principle extends to all who belong to Christ and who speak in his name. To accept the Lord's messenger is to accept Jesus himself. The great honor and the great responsibility a Christian has is to stand in the world for Jesus Christ. As his disciples we are called to speak for him and to act for him. Are you ready to stand for Jesus at the cross of opposition andhostility?
"Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we mayfully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus our Lord." (Prayer of Saint Augustine)