Treachery permeates the liturgy in these final days and hours of our Lenten journey.
On Tuesday, we heard John’s account of the moment of betrayal. Today, we encounter Matthew’s version of the sordid event.
What’s striking to me, in both tellings of the story, is how Jesus interacts with Judas. For starters, he chooses not to call Judas out by name initially:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Why is that, I wonder? Is Jesus perhaps trying to keep the door open…if even just a crack…for a conversion of heart?
I thought, too, about how Jesus reacts to a broken trust…not only on the part of Judas, but Peter, too. No matter what the offense, Jesus seems ready to forgive. And ultimately, it’s liberating. Traitors and tormentors have no power over our Lord in the end.
A few months ago, I met a couple of men who’d each experienced unspeakable acts of treachery on the part of those closest to them. They did not respond as Jesus did, however. They took revenge instead…and that’s largely why I had occasion to meet them, inside a maximum security prison.
I remember thinking, as they told me their stories, how very very difficult it would have been to forgive…had I been similarly betrayed. I understood why they made their choices…but I also realized how much it had cost them to seek vengeance.
Perhaps, in this Jubliee Year of Mercy, we would do well to reflect on the model that Jesus provides…and to ask humbly for the grace he offers…to help us mend any broken trusts we experience in our lives.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.