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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 37

Scripture readings: Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 69; Matthew 26:14-25

A recent Time magazine cover story featured soldiers returning from war. Besieged by nightmares, anger, and addiction, many find relief and renewed purpose by helping others. The article asked, “Can service save us?”

Tomorrow Jesus begins His act of salvation with an act of service: washing the feet of His disciples. Today, however, the tragic figure of Judas takes center stage.

Judas’ downfall begins with the opposite of service: self-interest. He asks the chief priests, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”

Judas was chosen by the Lord and entrusted with the community’s money. He didn’t start out with a greedy heart. But somewhere Judas turned to excessive self-love.

A follow-up to the Time article pointed out that people who volunteer are happier, more satisfied with life, and less likely to be depressed. Happier people are more likely to help others.

Today we identify with the prophet Isaiah, not Judas. The prophet realized that the Lord had given him a well-trained tongue, not to win the praise of others but “to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.”

Rev. Francis Mulvaney, C.Ss.R.
Bronx, N.Y.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here