"And he looked for an opportunity to betray him." (Mark 14:11)
This should fill my heart with sorrow and a deep reflection. Judas is the Lord's friend. He has walked with him for three years, learned from him, received Jesus' love at every moment of every day. Judas has himself preached, healed, and shared in Jesus' ministry! And yet as we arrive at the threshold of the Passion where is Judas? Where are his heart and mind now? He is "looking for an opportunity" to betray his Master.
We wonder how it's possible. We feel the deepest kind of pain and confusion. We can taste the betrayal and its bitterness makes us cringe. But we must humbly face the question that follows: "How often do I myself seek an opportunity to betray Jesus?" He is the Truth - where do I willingly and callously seek out gossip, slander, one-upmanship? He is the Way - where do I refuse to follow him because of the sacrifice it requires, preferring to cut my own path no matter how far away from God it leads me? He is the Life - how often do I willingly seek fulfillment and pleasure, distraction and self-centered enjoyment, even though death, darkness, and emptiness always accompany them?
"Judas immediately went out; and it was night." (John 13:30)
Conscience: Judas by Nikolai Ge (1891)
Our Father in heaven, open our hearts and help us to empty them of every last ounce of selfish pride. Fill the remaining hollow darkness with the light that leads us to true life and love, and help all of us to refuse to betray you ever again. Amen.