"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me… they began to say to Him one after another, surely it is not I Lord."
Betrayal really hurts. Most of us have experienced betrayal’s sting at some point in our lives and it can leave us deeply hurt and broken in spirit.
Today’s Gospel relates the story of Jesus betrayal by Judas for 30 pieces of silver. Perhaps no other betrayal story in Scripture is as well known at this one. The name "Judas" itself has become synonymous with disloyalty, treachery, and deceit.
Judas was one of the chosen twelve and I often wonder what made him turn against Christ for 30 pieces of silver. Maybe it was simply greed. Maybe it seemed like a good deal at the time. The gospel doesn’t tell us much about his motives, but it does tell us that the money didn’t bring Judas a life of happiness and contentment. Judas’ decision brought him deep despair.
When Jesus indicated to his disciples that one of them would betray him, each of them responded : "Surely it is not I Lord." Yet, most all of them did in their own way. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and most all of them abandoned Him when He needed them the most.
If we’re honest, with ourselves, there is a little bit of Judas in each of us. We too are often tempted to betray Christ. We do this by choosing to do wrong and failing to do good. Sin is how we betray Christ. We do this whenever we fail to live the Christian life and we hand over our integrity, self-respect, and peace of mind. At the deepest level, we are handing over Jesus. And maybe it seemed like a good deal at the time, but it usually leads us to guilt, shame and despair.
As we enter the Easter Triduum, we are invited to offer ourselves to Christ, to pause and reflect before taking actions that could lead to betrayal, and to remind ourselves of our commitment to Christian discipleship.
Deacon Brian Clements is a member of the retreat team at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, Calif.