Apr 12., 2017 / Soul Food
April 12: Wednesday of Holy Week
Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Matthew 26:14-25
“It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” (Mt 26: 24)
Reflection: In the passion story, Judas and Peter have betrayal in common. Judas betrays Jesus to those who seek to kill him, apparently for no better reason than a handful of coins. Peter betrays himself on the eve of the crucifixion when he denies being Jesus’ follower, apparently for his own safety (Jn 18:17). Peter will repent (Mt 27: 3-4) and accept Jesus’ forgiveness. Judas will repent but he will accept no forgiveness, not even his own. Instead, he will hang himself (Mt 27:5). It is easy to say of him, as Jesus did, “better for that man if he had never been born.”
Judas remains forever a mystery. However he began, he ended up a man of contradictions, chosen by Christ, reviled as a thief by John, despised by the authorities who paid for his information, and utterly despairing of himself. We don’t know why Judas’s life took the turns that led him to his end. But we do know his great mistake.
During his years as a disciple he missed the most important thing about the Master he had agreed to follow. He may have learned all the right words, but he never learned the Person who spoke them. Jesus expressed frustration with hypocrisy and blindness. He even uttered dramatic woes against the towns that refused to accept him and his message (e.g. Mt 11: 20-24). But he never refused compassion to a repentant sinner. Never. And somehow Judas missed it.
Lent offers us an extended time in which to seek what St.Paul calls “the supreme good” of knowing Christ more deeply, more intimately, more truly (see Phil 3:8-9). Whatever we may have done in the way of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and other good works, the underlying purpose has been to free us of the claustrophobic self so we can plunge into deeper communion with the One who is God’s mercy.
Missed it? Don’t worry. Lent, like every other liturgical season, is a rehearsal for all of life. And the invitation to know, and love and live in Christ remains open all year round.
Meditation: How have you come to know Jesus better this Lent? How do you feel called to grow toward knowing and loving him even more deeply in the months to come?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, grant that daily we may see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly.