Is. 50:4-9a Mt. 26: 14-25
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Picture a time of day—let’s say night. Look at the sky and notice the stars twinkling around a half moon. Feel your attention being distracted by the warm wind gently blowing against your face. Picture a man, possibly a 30 year old, medium build, dark hair, brown eyes, olive complexion, dressed in the style of the day—a tunic and sandals. Watch him as he walks to meet the chief priests. Peek into the house and listen as Judas asks them , “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” Listen intently and discover the rest of the story. For, there has to be a rest of the story, doesn’t there? I mean, how could Judas, one of the chosen twelve who followed Jesus, listened to the parables, watched Jesus perform miracles—how could he betray Jesus? Was it because Jesus’ words were too difficult to hear? Was it because he did not get along with the rest of the apostles? Was he jealous? Did he just not feel part of the group? Or, was it something altogether different? Was he, as some scholars have interpreted the long-lost Gospel of Judas– a “positive figure who was rewarded in the heavens.” Or, was it all about the thirty pieces of silver? Was it all about greed?
Last weekend, I watched the movie Conviction. This true story is about the relationship between a brother and sister who were abandoned first by their father, and then by their mother. Their love for each other was all they had in the world. As adults, when the brother was wrongfully convicted for murder, his sister made a promise to her brother. She promised that she would become a lawyer and prove his innocence. And she did. She got her GED, went to college, then to law school and finally passed the bar. Seventeen years later she proved her brother’s innocence , using DNA. The innocent brother who spent 17 years of his life in prison was set free. The DNA proven innocence helped his ex-wife admit to false testimony, cheaply bought by money, simple greed.
Jesus makes a promise to us. He promises us eternal life. He asks us to accept his love poured out to us by His life, death and resurrection and enter into relationship with Him—and he promises that he will never leave us. During Lent, we might want to look at our relationships—with God, with ourselves, with our friends, our family, our enemies. Are we promise-keepers? Are we the kind of persons who will make sure that our friends and family members and even our enemies are not sold out—by others, by the systems? Picture that.
Pastoral Care Assistant
Saint Louis University Hospital