“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
Day Thirty Seven of Lent: Wednesday of Holy Week – Matthew 26
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” -Matt 26:25
Today’s Lenten Reflection
The darkness of the Lenten season grows deeper and more heavy as we move closer to Calvary. This day, Wednesday of Holy Week, is known as Spy Wednesday. It is named after Judas’s role as the betrayer; the one who would trade his Savior’s life for thirty pieces of silver.
The sadness is palpable as we enter today’s gospel scene. Here we find Judas saying without irony or any self-awareness, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” But while it is easy to quickly point the finger at Judas, how often have we ourselves thought or said something similar – excusing ourselves for bad behavior and/or unwilling to take blame for something wrong we have done? When this happens (and it happens more than we care to admit), guilt and despair slowly creeps into our soul eating away at it like moths feasting on an old sweater. The key is, when we fall down (and we will) we cannot allow despair to take grip of us like Judas did. We must always remember that so long as we are repenting of our sins and trusting in God’s mercy, there is nothing our good Lord will not forgive us for. O what freedom! What love!
Think about Peter denying Jesus three times. Three times! But Peter felt an immense amount of remorse for what he had done. Not only that, he realized his shortcomings with a repentant spirit and amended his ways. From that point on, he picked up his cross and, until death, was a faithful disciple and virtuous reflection of His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is victory; that is what it means to work with God’s sanctifying grace.
“Until the very last second,” writes George Bernanos, “God wants us to search for Him in doubt and anguish.” In other words, despair is never an option for a Christian. This is because our faith tells us that we serve a victorious, merciful and loving God. Yes, He is all just; but He is also all love. There is nothing He will not do for a repentant child of His.
Are you carrying any guilt or anguish today? If so, take a moment to think about what the cause of the pain is. Why is it making you feel the way you do? Once you have arrived at a conclusion, ask Jesus to forgive you for your part in the situation. After you have asked for forgiveness, ask yourself if you believe that you are truly forgiven. When someone has forgiven us for something we have done wrong, we no longer feel a heavy burden because we know that we have been forgiven. So in order for us to shake any heavy feelings of guilt or anguish we may have today, we must first believe that God loves us; and we must also believe that we are indeed forgiven and set free.
Loving Father, the apostle Peter said that he would lay down his life for Your Son. Soon after however, he was faced with terrible trials and testing and fell down. We, too, feel tested in this crucible of life right now. Give us the grace, Jesus, to never deny You in the face of our many challenges and shortcomings. We pray fervently for perseverance … to remain faithful and repentant until death. Please don’t allow us to be shaken or thrown off course by the various tribulations of our everyday life. But in all things, even sufferings, it is in You we place our trust. In Your good and holy Name we forever pray, amen.
Today’s Suggested Penance
Pray for the conversion of all those who have turned against God. Pray also for your own soul, asking for forgiveness for anything you may have done today (or any other day) outside of the will of God.
“Those whose hearts are pure are temples of the Holy Spirit” -Saint Lucy.