Wednesday of Holy Week - Judas' Betrayal
Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 Gospel Reflection
"What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?"
Today we are sitting with this one line. If we recall the Gospel reading from Monday, Judas responds to Mary’s lavish show of love and gratitude for Christ with this: "Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?" (Jn 12:5) The Gospel of John points to the crux of Judas’ personal flaw: “He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.” (Jn 12:6)
Imagine the juxtaposed personalities. John would recline at Jesus’ side and “lean back against Jesus’ chest” in familial trust and hope of an explanation of who would betray Jesus; Peter proclaimed his willingness to lay down his life for him; and Judas was completely absorbed with money. So much so that he was willing to sell the Son of God for coins in his pocket and betray his brothers and friends for his own personal financial gain and security.
It's no surprise that the Church would culminate our forty days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving with one last emphasis on the “almsgiving” to drive home the importance of letting go of this money lust, whether it be the fear of never having enough or out of a genuine love of money and the things it can buy. Because, in the end, all that matters is Jesus. We fast, pray, and give to purge ourselves of the attachments of this world in preparation for the reception of the grace from the One who gave us His Son so we may be united fully with Him. We enter into a beatific vision, in our limited human capacity, at the culmination which is Easter.
Let us change the words of Judas today. Instead of demanding, “What will you give me?” let us ask in all humility, “How can I give all of me to you?” Hold fast to the lessons learned during these forty days. Enter into the holiest of days well-prepared for the eternal gifts that come from our good Father. Enter into the holiest of days with a heart full of trust, knowing that He will never leave us nor abandon us. (Deut 31:6)
Photo: The Payment of Judas (oil on canvas) by Seghers, Gerard (1591-1651)
Missio Dei is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.