Daily Reflection – 4/8/2020
Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’” The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”( Matthew 26:14-25)
Today is called Spy Wednesday and our scripture focuses on Judas Iscariot whose act of “spying” led to betrayal and whose betrayal led to the death of the human Jesus.
Judas, a universal human figure, is a person who dramatizes sin, not only his own but the sin of our first parents, the sin of everyone. Jesus confronts his betrayer. Love confronts a man without love. Judas as a result of free, intentional plotting betrays Jesus. Judas’ heart is set. He resists grace, resists love. He has sealed his own doom.
It is tempting to frame this Gospel around betrayal. There are times all of us betray Jesus. If we look objectively at our lives, it would be difficult not to admit that we have also abandoned, denied and perhaps even betrayed Jesus on numerous occasions, even as we call him “Lord.” Like the disciples, we also say, “Surely not I, Lord?” We imagine that if we had been there, we would never have betrayed Jesus. Yet everyone there abandoned Jesus and the most vocal champion Peter denied him three times.
But the message of “Spy Wednesday” is that malice need not have the last word; God had the last word by raising his Son from the dead. From this betrayal and the many other injuries suffered by Jesus, God brought great good. Good can also emerge from any of the misfortune we have to bear in life. This story invites us to trust that God can work in life-giving ways in us, no matter how others may treat us.
Do you know the worst decision that Judas Iscariot made? Judas’ worst decision was believing he could not be forgiven. All of us are forgiven, always. Jesus loves us with our full range of sins. We forget because we focus on ourselves and our sins, rather than on Jesus. We can get wrapped up in our own guilt and our own sense of the importance of our sins. We become blind to Jesus kneeling next to us, washing our feet and loving us from the deepest part of his heart.
We can’t see into future but we do know that we all have our own share of hardship to deal with. Perhaps we are not at a point where our sin is leading us to outright betrayal of Jesus, but everyone can find some pattern of sin in their lives. Make these next few days a time of honesty and integrity. The Lord’s mercy is so deep and pure that, if you would understand it, you would have no need to remain in any form of denial of your sins.
The Last Supper was not last. It is the first of many meals without end where our bodies will be nourished and made whole, where relationships with God and one another are mended and exude the resurrected life. This is but the first of many meals where we will draw closer to God and to one another.
Prayer of The Day
Father, strengthen me in my resolve to enter as fully as possible into the events of these next few days. Let me be loyal and faithful so that I may experience a deep inner renewal and peace.
This week tells us that, in the case of Jesus, human betrayal did not have the last word; God had the last word by raising his Son from the dead. God brought good out of the evil of betrayal and the many other evils that Jesus endured. God can also bring good out of the negativity that we sometimes have to endure from others. These days invite us to trust that God can work in life-giving ways even in those dark experiences that are contrary to what God desires for us.