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Our Lord Betrayed by Judas (Caravaggio)

Our Lord Betrayed by Judas (Caravaggio)

Betrayal is a common human emotion. When the people closest to us do things that they were not supposed to do, we feel hurt and angry. We wonder why they did what they did and how it will impact our relationship with them. In evewhetry single relationship, there always exists that temptation to betray the other. Whether by gossip or some other action, all of  us are liable to betray those that we love. When we do, it is something that is very difficult for us to live with.

When Our Lord was betrayed by Judas, He was not surprised. He knew that the betrayal was coming. He had even predicted who His betrayer was at the Last Supper. The moment came when Judas arrived with the guards and other members of the ruling classes. Yet Our Lord did nothing. He merely presented Himself to Judas and said to those who asked who He was, “I am He.”

Our Lord is betrayed countless times by each human being living on this earth. Whether through a life of sin or committing grave sins, each one of us is guilty of betraying Him in some way. None of us can escape from this fact precisely because it is such an ever-present reality in our lives.

This morning, I went to Mass at my local parish and received Communion. What should have been a moment that I eagerly awaited became a moment of great guilt. As Our Lord lay on my tongue, I felt pangs of guilt and revulsion. Yes, He was there with me, but He had come to judge me for the sins that I had committed.

When I went to make my thanksgiving, I made thanks for Him coming to me and yet I could feel His stern gaze. I had dared to betray Him countless times during the week yet I had come to the banquet and received Him. I now knew and understood what St. Paul had said so eloquently in one of his epistles, which I will paraphrase, “He who eats the bread and drinks of the cup does so to his own condemnation and judgment.”

It became clear to me as I knelt there in church that I was no better than Judas and the pharisees that Our Lord condemned. I have lived a pious life, yes, but have ever really understood how much my sins impact the world and how each one of them is a betrayal? How every act of disobedience to lawful authority on my part hurts Him? How much blood and water gushed  forth from His side because of me? How the nails pierced Him because of my sins?

I think about the Passion many times during the day, but I do not believe that I am truly living His message. Receiving Him consistently in the Eucharist is a true privilege and gift. It is not something for me to take lightly anymore. If I am to serve Him with all of my heart and with all of my soul, then I will have to repent of my sins. No act of contrition no matter how sincere can make up for the absolution that I would receive in the confessional. While the act itself may repair damage, it will not spare me the judgment.

I need to be cleansed from my sins in order to love Him more. If I die in them, I most certainly will not see my Lord as a merciful father, but as a just judge. It is this realization that I came out of Mass with today. It is sober and real, but it is the truth. No matter how much it may hurt me not to receive Him, it would hurt Him even more if I did in a state of sin. That I cannot do anymore.

Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!