Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Not I

“I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6)

“(Jesus said as he reclined with the Twelve at the table), ‘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.’” (Matthew 26:24-25)

“For your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons because the zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.” (Psalms 69:8-10)

Surely, it is not I, Rabbi?

Was Judas the role model for those ghostly characters in the Family Circus comic strip: Not Me and Ida Know?  Our transgressions may not rise to/sink to the level of Judas Iscariot.  However, they are transgressions no less.  When we chose selfishness over altruism, we turn our back on the very challenge of Lent and life.  Our time here is a perpetual struggle between light and darkness, between honesty and falsehood, between good and evil.

Every time that we choose light, honesty, and good, we strengthen our relationship with the Lord and with the larger community.
Joy to the one by whom the Son of Man is revealed.  Those people are the ones who stand by the Lord at his time of death. The foil for Judas is not even the rest of the Apostles.  The foil for Judas at the foot of the Cross will be Mary, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. The zeal in their hearts makes them willing to bear the public shame, insults, and the life of an outcast in order to remain true to following their heart.

No matter what we do, the promise of reconciliation is always offered.  We can be Judas or we can be Nicodemus.  On the Easter Vigil, there will be many people who celebrate the sacraments of initiation for the first time.  We can share in their joy by approaching the Easter banquet fresh from the experience of reconciliation. The light is always on.

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