Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Judas' and Our Betrayals

Lent is coming to a close, and we now enter into the most sacred days of the Church year! Most of us cannot stop our daily lives and focus entirely on the great Triduum celebrations. The laundry, diapers, cooking, and cleaning does not simply pause for the next several days.

But that is the beauty of praying as we work, and I have found that turning my thoughts repeatedly back to the last events in the life of Christ help me to still my heart. When I center my mind on the most beautiful sacrifice of the Holy Cross and the Glorious Resurrection, the daily events of bombings in Brussels abroad and preparations for deployment and moving at home are put into perspective.

With me, consider seeing yourself in today's Gospel from Matthew chapter 26:

14Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
16And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
17Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?"
18He said, "Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.'"
19And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.
20When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples;
21and as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
22And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?"
23He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me.
24The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
25Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."

When do we betray Christ? I betray Him when I don't look at my children as precious gifts but as irritating inconveniences. When I choose losing myself in Facebook and Amazon Prime videos instead of turning to Him in prayer. When I neglect to trust in His will and try to control too much, clutching the illusion of to-do lists and schedules. We don't necessarily seek to betray Him, but each of us has the sin of Judas on our hearts when we trade the challenge of His love (the cross) for the easier, earthly way.

Jesus provides for us, just as He provided a place for the disciples to celebrate passover. And yet. Our trust in Him is so fragile, so fleeting. Some worry how all the bills will get paid this month. Some wonder if the timing is right for a new job or a new baby. Rather than accept what the Lord puts in our path, in anxiety we doubt and question. We lack faith.

Then, even knowing the betrayal that Judas has chosen, the Lord accepts the fulfillment of the prophecies. He is sorrowful for Judas! He loves Him, loves us, so much that he is sad when we even think of betraying Him or refuse to believe in His providence. The love of the cross is for everyone, and when that love is rejected, Christ is sorrowful.

Today I will not be perfect. I will betray Jesus and I will doubt God. But I will keep turning back to Him, and I will accept His perfect love. Join me?

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