Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The story of Judas scares me.

Blood and water flowing from the side of Christ as a font of mercy for us, I trust in you.

I never really considered myself a Judas, that is I never  wanted to place myself in a meditation that he showed up in.  In fact I always tried to avoid thinking too much about the man who betrayed Christ.  He was just a warning for me, something to be feared and put off.  This year is different.  The Gospel passage where Judas feigns innocence, asking Our Lord, 'is it me who will betray you?'  'surely it's not me?' has resounded in my heart.

I often wondered if Judas was somehow really innocent, yet it seems to me his questions demonstrated that he actually knew Our Lord was referring to him.  

Did you ever do that?  Not in big things like Judas of course.  But - he who is not faithful in small things will not be faithful in big ones.  So.  Did you ever do something like that?  Get caught in a lie?  Then dissimulate and act as if you were innocent when someone suggested that you were lying?  Or pretended that you didn't even know they knew you knew they knew you lied?  Only later to try and cover up your lie with protests that those you betrayed somehow betrayed you?  Crazy logic - blame the victim for your little lie.  Convincing yourself you were somehow justified.

I think Judas thought he was not only full of good intentions, but that he himself was good; I'll bet he never thought of himself as a liar or a thief.  I think he felt in control, in charge of his life, like the faithful steward doing his duty, although he was surely the dishonest steward.  Somehow he justified himself.  I think he always did that - and he believed he was virtuous.  Today we might call that denial.  He demonstrated that when he complained about the ointment used to anoint our Lord, suggesting it should have been sold and the the proceeds given to the poor, perhaps reserving a small 'fee' for himself.  He perhaps had 'good' intentions, but it wasn't his call.  Of course he did 'good' things - he followed Jesus, he prayed and evangelized with him, he was a 'faithful' disciple and Jew - he kept the Law.  So what happened?

He could have repented.  Our Lord would have forgiven him as he did Peter.  As he did Zacchaeus.

"Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." - Luke 19

How can I repay?  How can I repair?  I repent.  I pray for those I have offended and ask their forgiveness.  I'm sorry.

But who can detect all of his errors?
From hidden faults acquit me.

From presumption restrain your servant
and let it not rule me.
Then shall I be blameless,
clean from grave sin. - Ps. 18