Lenten Reflection


Lenten Reflection, March 28th

STM Lenten Image.jpg

The Gospels do not tell us much about why Judas betrays Jesus. Over the centuries, many theologians and artists have offered their own explanations. Perhaps Judas grows impatient with Jesus’s style of ministry, expecting something bolder with quicker results. Maybe he realizes that Jesus’s clash with worldly powers would inevitably end tragically and wants to avoid the consequences. Or perhaps, in a moment of weakness, the thirty pieces of silver seem worth the cost. We do not know Judas’s intentions, but we do see that his decision leads him to further lies, deception, and regret. 

Throughout Lent, we have walked with Jesus through the desert of self-reflection and repentance. This journey has brought us face-to-face with our own sins. When thinking through the times I have turned away from God, I often begin to see a pattern. In many cases, my acts of betrayal toward myself, others, and God trace back to lies I have been telling myself. Often, these lies have to do with the expectation that I need to be self-sufficient and have the strength to do everything myself (an attitude that never ends well for me!) I sometimes wonder if Judas fell into this same temptation—if his own vision of how things should be or his desire to get results on his own terms spiraled into the betrayal of one he once loved. 

Although the liturgy over the next few days will focus on the wrenching consequences of Judas’s betrayal, the story doesn’t there. We know that Jesus Christ will rise. We know that he offers us forgiveness and transformation. We just need to be ready to give up the lies to ourselves that keep us from accepting God’s offer of grace. 

Judas is not the only disciple to betray Jesus. Peter later denies him, and many others flee on Good Friday. These other disciples, however, choose to turn back to Jesus and seek forgiveness after his resurrection. They later go on to serve the Gospel with courage because they come to realize that the resurrection of Jesus Christ invites them into the reality of new life regardless of their past betrayals. No matter how many times we go astray, Jesus always invites us back.

Edward Dunar '08

Edward is a member of the STM Community.