Wednesday of Holy Week
The role of Judas is somehow both essential to the Gospel story yet also remarkably mysterious. Essential if only because betrayal is so much a part of our human experience: I have been told that psychologically, betrayal is the most devastating experience we can have, and so it must be healed by Our Lord. Mysterious, because it is simply not clear why Judas did such a thing. Maybe because evil is always a dark mystery.
The Gospels are clear that Judas was a lover of money – but this betrayal certainly seems extreme, and in any event, he held the purse strings for Jesus’ community. Some speculate that he was a zealot, a political revolutionary, who wanted to push Jesus into a course of action Jesus would never take.
Whatever his reasoning was, Judas surely thought he was doing something good. And that is the terror of his position: how often do we find ourselves horribly wrong in a judgment we have made, all the while convinced of our utter rightness? We repent, we apologize, we try to patch things up. If offered that chance, Judas did not take it – and, once his eyes opened to the truth of the situation, he once again opted for himself, rather than the truth, and he then destroyed himself. The same spirit that blinded him in his betrayal blinded him in his suicide. Perhaps he was convinced he was right both times: if only he could have let the love of Jesus into his heart, into his soul, and surrender his own judgment!
Let us beg Our Lord to heal us of our own blindness lest we similarly perish.
Grace: To suffer with Christ who suffers for my sins.
Text: Mt. 26:36-46
Reflection: “Do you trust me?” That is the question the Father is asking of the Son. Jesus does not know why He must suffer, and so He asks His Father if there is any way He can be spared His Passion. His Father asks Him to trust Him. To undergo extreme physical and spiritual pain when one knows why one must is difficult; to do so when one does not know why is excruciating.
The life of Christ may seem desirable to imitiate when He is healing the infirm, forgiving the sinners, and feeding the multitudes, but what about when He is entering into His Passion? It can be easy to follow Christ when the way is pleasant and comfortable, but are we then loving the God of consolations or the consolations of God? The Father removes His consolations and asks His Son, “Do you still trust me, even though You do not understand why I am asking this of You? Do you trust me?”