Daily Reflection – 4/5/2023
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)
There is tragedy in today’s scripture. It goes far beyond the actual betrayal by Judas Iscariot.
The tragedy is that today’s world continues the betrayal of Jesus Christ. It has ignored the words of Jesus Christ. And by turning its back on the word, too many no longer “see” the promise of His death and resurrection.
That’s tragic. What’s happened to us?
We’d never lie if we thought our lie would cause Jesus’ crucifixion or someone else’s. We’d never steal if we knew that our theft would murder Jesus or murder someone else. We’d never neglect a needy person if we knew that as a direct result Jesus would die or that that Lazarus at our gates would die through our omission. But the spiritual reality is that our sins are really what led to Jesus’ death.
What happened to our eyes that scared souls, wide-eyed children, crying mothers, desperate fathers, panicked young man, people fleeing persecution, Jewish worshipers, people who are gay appear to us as rapacious foreigners, inhuman monsters, terrorizing infidels?
How do we miss the face of Christ, playing “in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, lovely in eyes not his?”
When did we forget that angry words, threats, incivility, demeaning of another speak loudly to our inner selves that we really have not let the words become part of our lives. When did we forget His language of love.
But here is the danger of turning our back on the words of Jesus Christ. Just as Judas Iscariot did, we miss the promise of Christ. Judas was convinced he would not be forgiven by Christ. Those that don’t act on the words of Jesus Christ fail to see and hold the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness that leads to eternal life.
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. Look into the mirror and into your eyes.
Remember this: 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.