April 13, 2022
As the tone turns darker still, we are given yet another excerpt from the Suffering Servant Songs of the prophet Isaiah. The servant uses his “well-trained tongue” “to speak a word” that will rouse the people. For this he will be tortured. The psalmist calls out in torment because he has become an outcast, a stranger to family and friends. He has borne insults. Yet, he will sing God’s praises with songs of thanksgiving. All through this season of Lent we have been constantly assured that God will be there for us. We will be vindicated in the end but will suffer first. There is no escaping this fate if we live the Gospel message of Jesus. Today’s first two readings make that painfully clear. In contrast, the Gospel, taken from Matthew, presents us with Judas. He was an apostle and tried to live the message of Jesus. He failed. We fail, too. When Jesus predicted that one of his friends would betray him, they all cried, “Surely, Lord, it is not I?” None of them intended to fail any more that we intend to fail. We have a choice—proclaim the good news and face the consequences knowing full well that we will be vindicated, or slink away and face different consequences. If we don’t seek forgiveness, the consequence is death. Today is called “Spy Wednesday” by some because tradition holds that today is when Judas conspired to hand Jesus over. Before we judge Judas too harshly, think how often we’ve betrayed our Lord. I agree with scholars who assert that Judas’ bigger sin is that he did not seek forgiveness—he despaired. He would have been forgiven had he just asked. We, too, have only to ask for forgiveness for our betrayals.