Daily Readings Reflection for 4/08/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/08/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Wed. of Holy Week. Isaiah 50:4-9. Psalm 69:8-10.21-22.31.33-34.
Matthew 26:14-25. Lectionary # 260:

Betrayal! a terrible word that almost always brings to mind the
apostle of Jesus, Judas Iscariot. It is Matthew who gives us some details
about this terrible act against his teacher and friend, Jesus.  It leads to
Jesus’ apprehension and eventually to his death on the Cross.  We learn of
two traditions that indicate that the death of Judas occurs soon after that
of Jesus whether by suicide or accident.  Judas probably was involved in
the preparations that Jesus had made for his celebration of the Passover
meal with his intimate friends, the Twelve Apostles. Judas was similar to
their steward in charge of the money.  He will betray Jesus for the promise
of thirty pieces of silver!  Betrayal is a deliberate sinful act and
usually involves other sins like denial, lying, and extreme forms of
selfishness.
Judas even dips his hand in the one of the dishes used during the
Passover meal.  Pretending that all is all right between him and Jesus, he
asks this question of Jesus concerning the fact that Jesus is aware of his
being handed over by one of his own: “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”  He had
already planned this and made his decision to deliver Jesus over to those
who were seeking a way of apprehending him. He will even do this with one
of the most intimate forms of trusting that of giving Jesus a kiss.  Though
we cannot judge Judas, we are startled by Jesus having said, “It would have
been better had that man (who betrayed) never to have been born.”  We leave
Judas into the merciful and just judgment of God. We have enough of our own
sinful actions and words to be concerned with our relationship to Jesus and
not condemn Judas–only God can handle this and “it is better to fall into
the hands of the living God” than into the hands of humans when it comes to
judging.
This scene from Matthew is so vivid that it touches us deeply as we
read it. We need to reflect on it in the light of our own sinful self.  Sin
is often dismissed as a trifle, a scruple in these days of violence and
terroris both domestic and foreign.  We rationalize our sins away quite
easily and go on with our normal routine. Firm purpose of amendment is part
of the sacrament of reconciliation and we all struggle with this, don’t we?
The Gospel today makes it clear that sin is a willful act and we are
responsible for it. We suffer the consequences of our sinful choices.
Betrayal, hopefully, is not among our sins. It is a terrible decision to
betray someone; it is a selfish act because it usually involves someone who
loved us or trusted us.  Powerful people usually are prone to this type of
sin, but we know of it among friends, lovers, and those who are
self-centered. The scene helps us realize the seriousness of all sins that
turn us away from one another and from God.  We need to interiorize the
words of a poet,”To your ownself be true.”  Our dignity as humans consists
in our likeness to God’s image (Genesis 1:27). During this season of Lent
which ends today, we now approach the Holy Days and ask for God’s
forgiveness. We trust that the all merciful and loving God can bring us
through once again.  And even if we have committed a sin of betrayal we are
forgiven when we humbly ask God for forgiveness. Jesus forgave all who were
involved in his death whether through false witness, betrayal, denial, or
simply selfish.  “Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.”
Amen.

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