The Gospel According to Matthew 26:14-25
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.”
Reflection: One indication of the Betrayal on Holy Wednesday, at least from the Gospel of Matthew, for Jesus’ last week… is not so much about Jesus, but about Judas Iscariot.
“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.
I don’t think anyone, will ever be able to figure out exactly what was on Judas’ mind, but most especially what was in Judas’ heart that would cause him to even consider this question, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” But then, there have been lots of decisions and actions in my own life, that I have not yet figured out what was in my own head or heart to cause me to even entertain that thought, but less to follow through with the deed.
Today is all about the Betrayal that Jesus experienced from within the chosen few he wanted as an apostle, by the one who he broke bread with, the one who he trusted. While reflecting on the simple kiss, that Judas gave to Jesus to signify, that HE was the one…It makes me reflect on my own life and think about when have I been Judas?
It’s hard to imagine ourselves as the one who is capable of such an act of betrayal…yet we do it every time we gossip or hurt another’s character, when we steel someone’s idea’s and make them our own, when there is abuse and we do nothing to stop it, and when we walk by and do nothing to the person who needs us the most. Betrayal sticks with us longer due to the nature of the act…because it’s personal and done by someone we know and trust. Remember a stranger cannot betray us…they do not know us.
One of the toughest parts of the Judas story is found in Matthew 26: 48 & 49: Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. That happened on Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane.
I cannot envision Jesus’ brokenness at that very moment, but I have seen the pain that comes when someone does the one thing you never thought they would do.
Once we get passed today…it often seems that the Triduum quickly comes to an end. Have you ever wondered how long that week seemed to Judas; or how long the week was for Jesus? More importantly have you wondered how long before we can ALL realize just how quickly sin leads to disaster?
If you are struggling this Holy Week and feeling disconnected, you are not alone. It acknowledges that we need God’s mercy and grace in order to observe Holy Week more joyfully and contemplatively.
Otherwise, if we try to do Holy Week on our own, we will get distracted and sometimes hostile. The Holy Thursday service will drag on. Good Friday and Holy Saturday will interfere with our weekend plans, and spending time with family after church on Easter Sunday… will wear our patience thin. We need God more than ever, to help us mediate with joy.
So today, on this Holy Wednesday (and every time we approach the Lord in prayer and worship), let’s swallow our pride and admit that we need God’s help. Let’s remember that we don’t just need it for the big things like salvation from Sin and Death. We need God’s help just as much for the little things like paying joyful attention during the Triduum that begins tomorrow.
Action of the Day: Offer Jesus a relationship in your life that is in need of healing. Pray this week that the reconciling love of the cross may have the final word.