Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Another Passover was upon Jews and like so many of our holiday dinners, things may have become a little mechanical for some of those gathered in that upper room. The wine, the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs; all part and parcel of a meal recalling an event that took place beyond anyone's memory.This passover would be like none other since that first one celebrated in Goshen.
St. John paints an interesting picture of the unfolding betrayal. Of the eleven faithful disciples, only St. Peter and the beloved disciple are initially aware of that Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, is about to betray the Master. In fact, the remaining nine seem to think that the Teacher has sent their brother out to provide for those in need on this feast night. This was hardly the case.
Judas, according to Matthew's account, had already agreed to deliver the Master into the hands of his enemies and was well paid for the deed. Now, he simply had to work out the logistics of making sure that Caiaphas's temple guards would make into the garden in time to apprehend the Christ. There are volumes of apologetics in print, that attempt to give an explanation for WHY Judas betrayed The Christ. These range anywhere from pious conjecture to pure nonsense. The WHY will be revealed on that great and terrible day when all will stand before the Father and all things will be made known (A day that each of us, if we're honest with ourselves, fear as nothing will be hidden).
Judas should be a cautionary tale for each of us. Though he was one of the twelve who proclaimed the good news, drove out demons, and healed the sick, he was also known as a thief to his fellows. This "power evangelist" was now twisted in to the traitor of all time. Its a warning and reminder that the enemy of our souls is highly adept at leveraging "character flaws" (what was once more commonly called sin) in our lives, and enticing us to do deeds beyond darkness.
We've come to a societal point where betrayal is so common place that it seems to have lost its shock with many. This morning, my mind goes to a lyric by Don Henley from his iconic "Sunset Grill":
"Respectable little murder's pay, they get more respectable everyday..."We are all capable of becoming the Iscariot. May all of our heart's be guarded, today and always.
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