Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday of Holy Week: Spy Wednesday

Judas conspires with the Chief Priests by Fra Giovanni Angelico
Judas conspires with the Chief Priests by Fra Giovanni Angelico
Now the feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was drawing near, and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered into Judas, the one surnamed Iscariot, who was counted among the Twelve, and he went to the chief priests and temple guards to discuss a plan for handing him over to them. They were pleased and agreed to pay him money. He accepted their offer and sought a favorable opportunity to hand him over to them in the absence of a crowd. - Luke 22:1-6
Wednesday of Holy Week is sometimes called Spy Wednesday because the gospel for today's Mass relates how Judas conspired to betray Christ and hand him over to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver.
2009LentPostCollection
Betrayal is a terrible thing. Some years ago, a person I worked with in ministry accused me of betrayal when he lost his position on a parish staff on which I also served. Whether I betrayed my colleague or not was a source of serious disagreement between us and severed our friendship. We saw the circumstances in very different ways. What I will never forget about the event was the accusation of betrayal. That I believed in my heart that I did not betray this person offered me no solace. The reality that someone I respected would name me a betrayer, of going behind his back to do him harm, left a deep and lasting wound. The wound has healed but the scar remains.

Have you been betrayed? Is there someone you have betrayed? Have you been accused of betrayal? On all sides, the accusation of betrayal is, at once, a heavy burden and a deep wound.

Benedictine priest Aidan Kavanagh wrote of the "night in which Jesus was betrayed by the worst in us all..." Judas, the betrayer, played the part for all of us who have betrayed the love of Christ in betraying one another.

Innocent and without sin, Jesus carried on his shoulders and suffered in his wounds the burden of all our betrayals...

Here's a contemporary setting of the Agnus Dei by Rufus Wainwright. This is not for every taste. What strikes me about it is the musical connection between the depths of our betrayal and sinfulness and the mercy of God: that God's mercy meets us in our sinfulness for that is where we most need the Lord, the sacrifice of his love and the gift of his reconciling pacem (peace).

This piece helps me image Judas plotting against his beloved Master and helps me look more honestly at my own betrayals of Christ. Make your way through the wrenching opening sounds that drill one's heart. The piece does not leave us in Judas' despair or our own misery - it takes us beyond to the consolation of the One who takes our sins away...




Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us!

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us!

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
grant us peace!


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

3 comments:

michelle said...

you said, "this is not for every taste"-
I would take that a step further and say, it is not for ANY taste, AT FIRST, BUT THEN, it is for EVERY taste-

thank you for this- I need so much help with, well, lots of things, but especially with things of my faith...
this is just one of the things that really helped me to FEEL and reflect and pray...
and that is just not easy to do (for me)
you are so right that "the piece does not leave us in Judas' despair or our own misery- it takes us beyond to the consolation of the One who takes our sins away..."
I felt this.

Thank you for your words here.

Anonymous said...

After looking up the definition of betray, I realized that I will betray my mother, when I reveal the truth to authorities, about the life threatening physcal abuse, that she has done to my father. I will, in her eyes, (and possible other family members) be "disappointing the hopes or expectations of a daughter; I will be thought to be disloyal; and I will disclose in violation of her confidence- this life long secret."

I need her to get the medical help that she needs, but does not know or think she needs. I am not sure how much the medical profession can help her since she is 82 and has never gotten professional help for her psychological problems- and there are many. I feel like I am deserting her, but I need to protect the people I love including my family.

It will be a difficult Easter, but maybe hearing about Jesus' crucifixion will help me during this difficult journey.

Teacher

Austin Fleming said...

My apology for being so late in posting this comment - in the craziness of Holy Week I thought I had.