The Challenge of Faith in Jesus
Today’s Gospel selection tells us how Judas finalized his plot to betray Jesus; in some places this day is referred to as "spy Wednesday". Only God knows what was really in the heart of Judas; from our vantage point after the fact, we can easily wonder why he turned traitor. Was it Power? Avarice? Greed? Judas is often called a thief and reportedly stole from the common purse which he held for Jesus and the others…but we ask…if he had had faith in Jesus, surely his faith would have overcome his greed…right? Well…
Nonetheless, Jesus knew that the time for his sacrificial death was drawing near. He knew that one of the twelve was to betray him. AND, he willingly accepted that death in loving obedience to the Father’s Will, and in fulfillment of the Scriptures. The words of Jesus at the Last Supper as recorded in St. John’s Gospel (Jn. 15:13) give great supporting testimony to Jesus’ motivation in his sacrificial death: "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." And indeed he freely and lovingly laid down his life as he died upon the cross!
Whenever we look upon a crucifix, let us realize that Jesus died because he wanted to – a perfect expression of his free, unconditional and personal love for the Father and each of us. As we prepare to celebrate tomorrow the institution of the Eucharist – Jesus’ Real Presence to people of all times – let us renew our humble profession of faith in Jesus. May that profession of faith guide and strengthen us as we confidently face the challenges and temptations that come our way in following Jesus Crucified on our life’s journey. And may God lovingly help the "Judases" who still struggle with their faith in Jesus.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.