Wednesday in Holy week is known as Spy Wednesday because on this day, the gospel recounts, Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces.
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Didn’t Jesus know that Judas was not worthy of his trust? Perhaps he did. But that is the mark of Jesus’ mind and heart – that although someone may not deserve to be trusted (or loved) he loves them (and so trusts) them nonetheless. This is our saving grace for all of us “fall short of the glory of God.” In a very real way, we might all identify with Judas – someone to whom Jesus exposed himself, became vulnerable, and so was capable of being betrayed. Have we, knowing of Jesus trust and live, ever betrayed him? Maybe we are too swift to condemn.
So in our prayer this day, most of us can identify with the vulnerable, trusting, loving Jesus as well. Part of human living is to become vulnerable to another so that we can receive their love and trust. Our relationships grow deep and profound with those who threat that “offering with respect, kindness and affection.” And yet, on occasion, someone in that privileged position might have become more concerned about themselves and used that sacred position for their own advantage. How hurt did we feel when that occurred? How awful was that experience? Getting in touch with our own experiences of betrayal can set us in mind of what Jesus might have felt on the first “Spy Wednesday.”
But then, the grace. Knowing that Jesus shared that experience “in spades” (it cost him his life after all), we know that his love did not end. Judas’ sin was not so much the betrayal but his unwillingness to accept Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Peter, we shall hear, also betrayed. But Peter never despaired of God’s goodness and God’s willingness to redeem and make whole again. Judas betrayal was not worse. How he dealt with its consequences was.
I pray this day for the grace to forgive those who might have betrayed me. More especially I pray for the grace never to despair of receiving the forgiveness of others for the betrayals I have wrought. May God grant me this grace . . . may I thus be assured that I am truly reconciled, forgiven, redeemed.
n Read Matt 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6