The contrast couldn’t be sharper: Judas, one of Jesus’ beloved inner circle, and Mary Magdalen, a redeemed sinner whose brother, Lazarus, Jesus had just raised from the dead. The one cynically speaks on behalf of the poor, and the other breaks all social norms of the day in a startling, sensuous response to Jesus’ forgiveness and call to true life.

And so we come to that holiest of weeks, the week of ultimate choice. For Jesus, his choice was to follow his Father’s will, which led to his execution alongside common criminals. In our own day, barely a week ago, the choice of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans Van Der Lugt was to stand with the embattled people of Syria–Christian and Muslim alike–which brutally cost him his own life.

For us, what choice will we make this week? Most likely, it will not result in martyrdom in a literal, public sense. But can it lead to greater death to self?

Pray that we, in our choices this week and well beyond, follow not Judas’ lead, but Mary’s and Fr. Van Der Lugt’s, and so unite ourselves more fully to Jesus’ own death, and to his glorious resurrection.

—Fr. David Mastrangelo, S.J. is superior of the Taylor St. Jesuit community, Chicago, and director of Mission and Identity at Christ the King Jesuit High School, Chicago.