Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. Mark 14:10-11
We cannot know light unless we have know darkness! I cannot help but think that this very brief, pithy pericope from Mark about Judas is all too relevant today. Many of us pray that we are never put to this test and yet so many of us are…every day: between money and faith, between betrayal and loyalty. And so I wonder whether after our initial feelings of anger at Judas and even our own shame, we too might have chosen material luxury over the abundance of God’s love, we might even be grateful for this reminder. If we are willing to put ourselves honestly into the story and not “rise above it,” we might rest in God and heal our own temptations. In Lent we fast and pray and adopt disciplines which will reorient us to our God of love. Today, early in this penitential season, we cringe that such good intentions might not produce deeper faith and trust. On the contrary, I would suggest that to live into Judas’ desperation, false ego and our own moments of betrayal against God’s will, however small, might render insight into forgiveness and mercy which will allow us to emerge ever more faithful. Judas’ betrayal was essential to the Paschal Mystery. It demonstrates the depths of human brokenness as well as the depths of God’s mercy. We know these depths because we have witnessed betrayal AND crucial tragedy which lead not to despair but to resurrection life! God uses everything that we might know eternal love! The forgiveness of sins is palpable and available to all.
The Rev. Dr. Martha Tucker
Saint David’s (Radnor) Church