MARCH 31. LENT. HOLY WEEK. WED. MT. 26. 14-25
One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.
The centrepiece of this Gospel reading must surely be the words of Judas; - “What are you prepared to give me?”
Yes, it is easy for us to condemn Judas for this act, but when you think about it, this is what we do every time we sin!
This is because when we sin, what we are doing is putting our own wishes and desires before the wishes of Jesus Christ; - who we profess to “love!”
This is a hard truth to accept when it is put so bluntly; - but this is what we do when we choose to commit sin!
And, sadly, what it is, is an indicator of the quality of our “love”! We profess to “love” God; - but then we find ourselves “betraying” that love on a fairly consistent basis?
And it is these consistent “betrayals” that were the reason the disastrous events of Holy Week had to take place; - to make reparation for our sins and failures!
So, what we are looking at here is the difference between the “love” of Judas; - and ourselves: - and the “love” of Jesus Christ; - for sinners; - or those who disobey his wishes!
Sadly, it has to be acknowledged that our love bears a greater resemblance to that of Judas than it does to that of Christ; - who denied himself, to the point of sacrificing his life!
And, when we look for the cause of this sad situation it becomes immediately apparent; - it is caused by an absence of mortification and self-denial!
And Christ, by embracing his Cross (and the Will of The Father) is illustrating the truth that, where there is mediocre self-denial, there is also mediocre or lukewarm love; - which is clearly the type of love practiced by Judas; - and far too many Christians in today’s ‘modern’ world!