April 4, 2012 - Wednesday of Holy Week

Today's Readings

Today is traditionally called “Spy Wednesday” from when the word “spy” meant something like “traitor”. We remember today the actions of Judas Iscariot, the friend of Jesus who betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. We know that Judas was greedy. He used to steal the money that was set aside for the poor. However it was that he justified the betrayal in his own mind, the first words out of his mouth today are "What are you willing to give me?"

Jesus makes it clear that he knows about the betrayal. All the disciples profess that it could not be them who betrays him. Then it is Judas's turn. He says, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi." Jesus responds with his great wisdom, “So you said.” Judas was free to make a decision. When he said that he was not the betrayer, he had the power to not be the betrayer. Even at that late stage, nothing forced him to betray Jesus. He could have confessed everything right there. He could have begged forgiveness. He would have been forgiven. Jesus told him the consequences of betrayal: "The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born." This is not a threat but a true assessment of the situation that Judas had chosen. How did he hear these words and then still go out and betray Jesus? Even if he had no scruples about betraying an innocent man for money, he ought to have feared for himself.

We can learn an important lesson from Judas in the Gospel today. It is never too late to do what is right. No matter how deeply we have woven ourselves into sin, we can always begin doing what is right. Even if it means that we will be considered disgraced in our community, even if it means that we will lose all our money, our freedom, even our life, it is never too late to do what is right. This is a lie that Satan tells. The mountain between us and the right road seems insurmountable, but all we have to do is turn around. If we confess our sins and face the consequences, the worst that could happen is at least better than Hell.