Betrayal - Holy week Wednesday
Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, our strength and our redeemer - Amen
Monday night on our journey through holy week – the week that we mark the final moments before the cross - we had the story of Mary – sister of Lazarus – who took a costly burial (embalming perfume) and wiped the feet of Jesus with her Hair
A spontaneous gesture of love - and unbeknownst to Mary a symbolic gesture of preparation for what Jesus was about to take on
And the words of Jesus forever writing her name into history
And telling us that “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
Revealing to us – preparing us - for what was to come
Then last night, Terry shared with us the senseless nature of death
How, despite our many rationalizations – Death is foolishness
It defies the spirit of Life the is in all of us
As we know God as the creator of life – death is the most direct opposition to God
And yet the seed needs to die to be transformed into a plant that will bear fruit a thousand fold
As we continued on our holy week journey through the gospel according to John - we were told of the message from the mouth of Jesus:
“The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”
As we journey towards the foolishness that is death, we are called to live as people of the light
SO….we are at the midpoint of the week.
After today the drama intensifies, deepening and darkening like a starless night.
Today, betrayal enters the stage
Now betrayal is a very big word
It is not merely two parties that don’t agree and debate or argue and ultimately go their separate ways – no betrayal is much more sinister then that – betrayal can only occur when ones knows the other deeply and personally
Today we have the story of Judas’s betrayal
It is a shocking message to the group of disciples gathered
And we are told that it is deeply upsetting to Jesus – that He was ‘troubled in spirit”
Sadly we all have our own stories of betrayal
Where someone that was very close to us - someone that we let into our heart – let that relationship die by their actions
Or maybe we have our own stories of betraying others
Whereby we came to understand the situation was no longer healthy – no longer life giving and we felt compelled to take a role in ending something of an intimate personal relationship
It may have started out as a rationalization, whereby we felt justified or the other person felt justified
But later in the reflections that only time can provide we see our part or their as betrayal
I know for my part I have had friends that went separate ways – sometimes just a slow shift apart – but sometimes a painful loss whereby betrayal was felt
And it is a form of death – an end – the conclusion of what was once life or a part of life – betrayal is dramatic – it is soul destroying
Our gospel passage today tells the story of how one of Jesus’ closest friends
One of the twelve selected to be with Jesus through it all
And notice the intimacy and the imagery - how Jesus invites his betrayer to dip the bread into the wine
Consider the Eucharistic implications
Jesus’ invitation ….communicating – who and yet his body and blood broken for even a betrayer
You might be wondering why – why would this happen
How did Jesus allow this to happen
Or how did Judas not get the message that the others understood
Well might I suggest that Judas might have felt betrayed by Jesus
And so responded…
You see the Jewish expectation of the coming messiah was to be a triumphal military hero – that was going to bring them out of Roman oppression and into glory of ruling the whole world
And Jesus was presenting a new version of that strongly held view
Yes, Jesus was the messiah – but not in the way that had been expected by so many… for so long…
Judas simply didn’t have eyes to see the fulfillment - in the new light
In a way which was more powerful then momentary military victory – beyond the battle and toward eternal victory
Judas didn’t have eyes to see it
And in some way are we not all like Judas
We miss the message
Surprisingly, I think Judas represents us good faithful churched people.
We want to follow Jesus just as Judas wanted to.
We think we are following Jesus, when we are actually following our image of Jesus.
We think our community is living as a foretaste of the Reign of God, when really our community more closely reflects the values of the society around us.
Individually and communally, we do, in fact, betray Jesus - often.
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will realize that we’re a great deal like Judas.
Part of our journey through the drama of Holy week is into the dark places, where we go out into the night and not live by the light of life
Where we miss the message and values of Jesus and trade it for the values and message of this world
Today – take the trip – allow yourself to see how and when you act as Judas
See the journey toward death, towards the cross - for what it is - and what our role is
Know that in the prayer that our Lord gave us as a model – He reminds us that we are to ask forgiveness of our sins (our Judas-like actions) and that we forgive those that have betrayed us
May God be with you through the journey Amen