Holy Wednesday: selfishness, greed, betrayal
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before (Mt 24:14-25).
Even as Jesus was enlightening the masses with a little sermon on the Mount of Olives, Judas was preparing to betray him. Why? How can you spend so much time in a man’s company and not get the measure of his character? How could Judas not know? How could he not believe? How could he not trust? The reason is that he did not love: or that he loved himself, his ambition and money more. Judas is one of those friends who aren’t friends: you know the sort – the superficial hangers-on; those who like to be seen with you or use you for their own ends; those who boast and name-drop, whose every conversation becomes a discourse about them. The world of politics is full of such people. They profess eternal friendship and mouth their undying loyalty while they plot to stab you in the back: as one great person observed, it is treachery with a smile.
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him (Mt 26:14-16).
As long as Judas lined his pocket, he never paused to consider the consequences for Jesus. That would have been an act of love, yet his heart was consumed with selfishness, greed and exploitation. Friends are God’s gift of love: they are there to nurture and support, and also to correct and rebuke. On this Holy Wednesday, let us thank God for them, and reflect on forgiving those who have betrayed us – politically and religiously – even if they have caused to cry a whole river of heartache and hurt.