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.