In today’s Gospel, we read of the foretelling of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas: ‘When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 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. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night’.

Jesus’ words to Judas in fact give him a way out, but he does not take it. Two things happen after Judas has received the morsel of bread from Jesus’ hand: Satan enters into him, and he leaves (definitively) the disciples’ unity and fellowship. He will never return again. The bleak statement ‘it was night’ is a terrible evocation of that moment: a night not only physical, but also figurative and spiritual. ην δε νυξ.

In the many ‘nights’ of our world today, especially in Ukraine, we place our hope in Jesus alone, for He has said: ‘The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’. The phrase ‘be of good cheer’ can also mean ‘have courage’. In these times, God is specially close to us, to bring us His own courage. May God bless you and enfold you with His presence.