As we approach Good Friday we are reminded in the readings of an even stronger pain, something that all of us have experienced. Here Jesus is in the room with His most trusted friends. The people who have journeyed with Him, followed where He went and witnessed all of His miracles. One of them though is going to betray Him. We've all been betrayed. It's a pain that is worse in many ways than any physical pain. The closer the one who betrays you, the worse the sense of loss and mourning. Judas, for thirty pieces of silver, was to cause his friend's death. In our modern times that would be like turning over your friend, your teacher, your confidant... for roughly $600. It's not getting rich by any means. Judas was the treasurer of the group so if he just wanted money he could simply have stolen more. Maybe he wanted to force the hand of Jesus, to make the Messiah rise up and conquer the Romans! Who really knows?
What I do know is that we give Judas a very hard time, when we to betray Jesus. When we break His commandments; or ignore Him in the stranger, the widow, and the orphan. When we hurt those who love us. When we abuse those put into our care. How often does Christ suffer at our hands even today? Yes, He was crucified once for our sins and transgressions, but every day He who gave all to us, even his very life, is rejected and spurned. The last acceptable prejudice is against Christ himself. In my own life, I've justified so many things by labeling it something else. "Not enough time." "Too busy." "I don't feel good." All of them simply saying "I am more important." There Christ suffers for me yet again while I allow my ego to be my guide instead of Him. As we glimpse the Paschal mystery again, let us take this Easter as the opportunity to comfort Christ. To be the one who stops and says "Speak Lord, your servant is listening." The one who reaches up to Him on the cross at Calvary and reminds Him that we do love Him and realize what He is doing for us. To reach out to the immigrant, the refugee, the sinner, and the saint; giving them an account of our Hope and in some way meeting their needs with both prayer and action.
Lent is a time that should transform us. The habits we have formed, the mortifications and fastings, these are not meant to be temporary. They should change us each and every year to be more like Christ. Too often we leave Lent and simply go back to exactly the way life was before. This should not be. We should come out of Lent with a new appreciation of Christ and His suffering with a firm amendment to attempt to continue to grow even closer. Aim for heaven. Become a Saint. It is what we are called to! Someone said recently we have a vocations crisis... I think instead we should call it a discernment crisis... It's not that God isn't calling men and women, it's that men and women are not responding. Take time each day to listen for that call. Read those bibles. Pray the divine office. Spend time in Sacred Silence. Receive the sacraments as frequently as possible. Love one another with mercy and forgiveness. The Triduum begins tomorrow. Let's enter it with Christ on our minds, our lips, and in our hearts.
His servant and yours,
"He must increase, I must decrease."
A reflection on the readings for Wednesday of Holy Week: April 12, 2017