What Judas Forgot

(from 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

The Lord's passion unfolds like a drama. Suspense mounts as Christ speaks these words: "Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed." That man is Judas Iscariot, one fo the twelve apostles. Think for a moment what Judas' betraying Jesus says about the man Dante places in the deepest pit of hell. Judas was no stranger to Jesus. Judas accompanied Jesus from the beginning. Judas heard the truth the other apostles heard. He saw the miracles the others saw. All that Christ did to reveal himself as the Savior of the world, Judas witnessed firsthand. Now in a flash, Judas forgets everything. "What are you willing to give me," he asks cunningly, "if I hand him over to you?" These words should inspire awe in each of us. To be sure, Judas forgot Christ's wisdom, his great deeds, his saving ministry. What is more pitiable, Judas forgets the lesson a sinner like himself most needs to remember. It is the lesson of forgiveness. We will never know why Judas forgot the one lesson that would have saved him from suicide. His self-inflicted fate however serves as a stark reminder of sin's final payoff. Judas' despair should serve also as a warning. Whatever sin one may commit against Jesus, one and only one remedy exists. Turn back toward Jesus, and ask forgiveness.

Reflections based on Matthew 26:14-25
Father Romanus Cessario, O.P.

Merciful Father, the passion of your only begotten Son
forgives sins and brings new life. Keep my heart turned
toward Jesus, who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.

Today's suggested penance: Give alms to a needy person or cause.