When we think of the brutality that Jesus suffered for us, we can see that this was all foretold in today’s first reading from Isaiah 50. “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.” He did that for you and me!
On Wednesday of Holy Week, we think about Judas. Judas is a very enigmatic character in the Gospel story. Was he chosen from all time to be the betrayer of the Messiah? That doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? Or did Judas have a free will? Could he, at any point, have changed course and not given Jesus up? And at what point did he realize that things had spun wildly out of control? Did he ever regret his eternity-altering decision?
You and I probably have a lot more in common with Judas than we may like to acknowledge. We must always remember that he was one of the Twelve. Chosen and sent. And yet he turned on Jesus. Judas is often referred to as the Betrayer. In truth, I am the betrayer. Thinking of Judas and my propensity to imitate him always reminds me of an old saying. It has been attributed to St. Alphonse or St. Philip Neri. I modify it for myself. “Be mindful of Gus today, Lord. He could turn on you at any time.”
Father, forgive us for those times when we turn on you. Help us to recognize our betrayals more quickly, and free us from all selfishness, the cause of our betrayal. Amen.