Tuesday, April 07, 2009

You Will Betray Me

April 8, 2009

Wednesday of Holy Week

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:6-7

And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?" Matthew 26:21-22


Morning after morning, God, you hear my plea. Lord, in your great love, answer me. Amen.


We have a hard time believing in the worst about ourselves or about humanity. Just like Peter denied he would deny his relationship with Jesus, we never know the role evil will play in our lives. Although Judas was one of the first men to respond to Jesus and the calls to “Repent” and “Follow Me,” his human weakness was exposed. “Surely it is not I, Lord?”

No one woke up and set out to trample 34-year-old Wal*Mart employee Jdimytai Damour to death on Black Friday last year. For Damour, it was just another day at work. He did not know when he showed up that it would be his last suffering under the feet of too-eager holiday shoppers. “Surely it is not I, Lord?”

The immigrants studying to be Americans in Binghamton, NY, shared the hope of millions who headed to this nation for liberty over more than 230 years. While they sat in a classroom, Jiverly A. Wong fired 98 times from two handguns during his rampage at the American Civic Association, a shooting spree that may have lasted not much more than one minute. When Wong’s Friday morning attack was finished, he had killed 14 people, including himself, and injured four others. “Surely it is not I, Lord?”

Pittsburgh police Officers Paul Sciullo II and Stephen Mayhle were about an hour short of ending their overnight shifts Saturday April 4 when the 911 dispatched them to 1016 Fairfield St. in Stanton Heights at 7:05 a.m. The call, described as a domestic argument between a mother and son with no weapons involved, was also heard by Officer Eric Kelly, who had just finished his 11 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift. Still in uniform but driving his own white SUV to his Stanton Heights home, he decided to swing by Fairfield to back up his fellow officers from the Zone 5 station in East Liberty. Within minutes, all three officers were fatally shot by the subject of the domestic call, later identified as Richard "Pop" Poplawski, 22. Police said Mr. Poplawski knew his mother had called 911, knew officers would come to his house. He apparently lay in wait, armed with an AK-47 assault-style rifle, a .22-caliber rifle and a revolver and wearing a bulletproof vest. “Surely it is not I, Lord?”

The danger that innocent people will be executed because of errors in the criminal justice system is getting worse. A total of 69 people have been released from death row since 1973 after evidence of their innocence emerged. Twenty-one condemned inmates have been released since 1993, including seven from the state of Illinois alone. Many of these cases were discovered not because of the normal appeals process, but rather as a result of new scientific techniques, investigations by journalists, and the dedicated work of expert attorneys, not available to the typical death row inmate. These stories include people like Rolando Cruz, released after 10 years on Illinois's death row, despite the fact that another man had confessed to the crime shortly after his conviction; and Ricardo Aldape Guerra, who returned to Mexico after 15 years on Texas’ death row because of a prosecution that a federal judge called outrageous and designed to simply achieve another notch on the prosecutor's guns. “Surely it is not I, Lord?”

“De-nial” they say is a river in Egypt.


How would we feel if Jesus chose our house as the place where he would celebrate the Passover feast? How did the declaration “In your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples” change the lives of the family who lived there?

Jesus invites us into his house every day to celebrate a feast. How does that invitation change us?

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