Posted by: frburke23 | March 26, 2013

Thought for Wednesday of Holy Week

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘“
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

============================

As we move toward the Holy Triduum starting on Thursday, we read about Judas the betrayer.  What could have caused Judas to betray Jesus in such a way?  Surely Judas had initially responded to Jesus’ call with enthusiasm when He said, “Come follow me”.  Did Judas become disillusioned with this type of Messiah?  Did holding the money bag become too much of a temptation for him?  Did he become jealous of the other apostles and decide to do something to get attention?  We can’t get into the mind of Judas, but from what we read he certainly lost his way.

Have you ever betrayed a friend?

If so, what caused you to do so?

None of us are beyond what Judas did to Jesus.  We are all sinners and at any moment could betray our best friend and/or the Lord.  “There but for the grace of God go I. 

I have betrayed good friends in the past.  I didn’t wake up in the morning thinking, “I’m going to betray a friend today”.  But when I move away from the Lord in prayer and when I start focusing on myself, that is when I have fallen.  Sin is wanting what I want, right now.  Love is seeking the best for the other. 

Do I notice this dynamic in my life?

Do I notice selfishness?

Do I truly seek the best for others or is that just a guise to get what I want?

Let us take time this Holy Week to look into our hearts and test our motivations. 

What is the deepest desire of my heart?

Is it truly to know, to love and to serve the Lord?

Or is my desire to be known, to be loved, to be God?

Lord, I come before you as a sinner.  As I reflect on what Judas did to you, I am reminded that I betray you daily with my thoughts, words and actions.  That is not my desire, but I get distracted away from You.  I start to focus on the things of this world and my own wants and desires.  This Holy Week, I open my heart to you in a new way.  I ask you to fill me with your grace, your light and your strength in order to make you my top priority.  Give me persistence in prayer, so that my heart burns with your love and the desire to serve you above all else.  Help me to be selfless, trusting that your grace and love is sufficient for me.

God bless,

Fr. Burke


Responses

  1. Thank you for this beautiful reflection. So apropos especially for this week. It is so easy to become distracted, occupied and generally caught up in oneself. This is so perfect for my Lenten meditation and resolve. Thank you Fr. Burke. May you have a blessed Easter and thank you for your commitment and faithfulness as a priest.

  2. Father Burke, I heard your speech at St. Jude church last week and I truly loved it. I decided today to check out your website and was greatly astonished at todays message about Judas. A few weeks ago my best friend of 10 years betrayed me in a way I feel I can never forgive. Even though the pain is so great I have decided to make this a positive message for my life. I am a sinner in this also and know the changes I need to make for my life going forward. This person does not want my forgiveness and says she would do this to me all over again if she had to. How do I pray for her to see the wrong in what she has done and at least want forgiveness from God? Also how can I learn to forgive her even though I know I can never be her friend again?
    Thank you
    Sandy

    • Sandy, thanks for your note. This is a very painful experience when a good friend betrays our trust. My best advice is to pray for her. Obviously you can’t control her – she has free will. You would hope that she would see how she hurt her best friend, but that is between her and God. The key is not allowing this to control you and your relationship with the Lord. Holding anger and resentment against her will only hurt you in the long run. Go before the Lord on the cross and ask for His ability to forgive. You are correct – forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends again. Forgiveness means that you can honestly pray for this person and really want what is best for them. That is true love – that is what Jesus showed us on the cross.

      My prayers are with you,
      fr. burke


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