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THE TRAGEDY OF BETRAYAL

Father Francis's picture
Holy Week

Is. 50:4-9 & Mt. 26:14-25

The grim details of the torment of the Suffering Servant are foretold by Isaiah in today's first reading. He will be beaten, his beard will be plucked out, and he will be spat upon.

Of all the men and women who appear on the pages of the New Testament, Judas lscariot is perhaps the most tragic. His name has become a world-wide symbol of betrayal. He achieved infamy by one act of treachery against his friend. But Judas was a person just like you and me. There is a trace of treachery in each one of us. It is pointless arguing how we would have behaved under the same circumstances. We know only too well that we, too, are capable of turning our back on the Lord in this modern world.

Judas not only betrayed Jesus, he also betrayed himself and lost his peace of mind. No sooner had the wicked deed been done than he was eaten with unbearable remorse. So great was his guilt that he could not live with himself and elected to end his own life. If we are able to lay our head on our pillow at night, and go to sleep with a clear conscience, we have a priceless possession. We must not sell it or trade it for anything this world has to offer.

Judas also sold the opportunity he had to be and to do something worthwhile. He was chosen by Jesus as one of the original 12 apostles.

Clearly he had potential. Only God knows what he could have become. As one poet said: "For all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest of these - it might have been." We have a chance to do something good with our lives; we must not sell it for some passing attraction.

Judas also betrayed his friends - his fellow apostles. Most people do not remember there was another disciples called Judas who is mentioned in Saint John's Gospel (14) where he is called "Judas, not lscariot."

One man befouled a name and another man had to try to live it down for the rest of his life.

A crooked lawyer betrays good lawyers. A corrupt politician brings all his colleagues into disrepute. A dishonest business person lets down all the honest people in the same business. An unfaithful priest harms the reputation of his fellow priests. We not only have a responsibility to God but also to our neighbour.

So for just 30 pieces of silver Judas sold his Lord, himself and his friends. What price would persuade us to turn our backs on Jesus? Could it be a marriage outside the Church, or an illicit relationship? Could it be the temptation to steal from an employer? Could it be a family quarrel? Whatever the price it will not be worth it. We are called to be saints, with God's help. How tragic it would be, if like Judas, we were to throw away such a priceless offer.

Holy Spirit, gave us the grace to be loyal to Jesus, and never to betray Him who has done so much for us.

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