Today’s Gospel: Matthew 26:14-25
Traditionally, this Wednesday of Holy Week was known as “Spy Wednesday”. We hear, in excruciating detail worthy of a dramatic film, the secret betrayal of Judas.
If you’ve ever seen the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Jack Sparrow’s line that “The lowest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors and mutineers” is a direct reference to the great medieval epic, The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri. Dante takes his readers on a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven – and in the lowest circle of Hell, forever in the grasp of Satan, we find the Traitors to their Benefactors. I’ll give you the CliffsNotes version of Dante’s profound meditation:
“Fraud against a benefactor constitutes the worst fraud of all, for it violates a love that is purely voluntary, a love that most resembles God’s love for us. Correspondingly, one who betrays one’s benefactor comes closest to betraying God directly. Thus, the ultimate sinner, Judas Iscariot, was a man who betrayed both simultaneously, for his benefactor was Jesus Christ.”
We instinctively want to turn our eyes away from the horror of Judas’s treachery. How could one of Christ’s closest friends have done this to Him? What incentive could make a man turn his friend and master in to death for thirty pieces of silver, a month’s wages?
But we have to consider Judas, because of the rest of the Gospel. Judas betrays Christ within the context of the first Eucharist – and there’s the rub. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we receive our God Who has made Himself vulnerable within us. Our God, Who has given us, quite literally, everything, because He loves us. Do we give Him all the love, honor, and fidelity which He deserves? Or do we betray His goodness to us by our sins?
When will you receive Holy Communion next? How can you better prepare for the Sacrament, and what is one way you can try harder to stay faithful to His presence within you?
My King, I can’t imagine how Judas would betray You, but I know that in little ways and sometimes big ones I betray You too. Please bring me into a deeper friendship with You and help me to stay faithful.
Copyright 2018 Rebecca Willen
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