Thursday, April 21, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, April 20, 2011 (Wednesday of Holy Week)

Transcript of homily recorded on Wednesday, April 20, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

There were actually two disciples called Judas, and the who betrayed the Lord — Judas Iscariot. And every time they talk about the other Judas, the scriptures will say, "Not Iscariot; Judas, not the Iscariot." Judas  Iscariot is a name that we associate with betrayal. That name, standing alone, speaks to us, he's the one who betrayed the Lord.

And we wonder how it is possible for someone to betray Jesus. We wonder how it is possible in our own lives that we have been guilty of betraying our friends as well. We know that we are all capable of this, and some of us have even experienced guilt for our betrayals.

Judas experienced tremendous guilt. From that moment on, when he betrayed Jesus and received the payment of 30 pieces of silver, his life was never at peace again. His betrayal cost him dearly. He made 30 pieces of silver, but he sacrificed so much in return for that. He was haunted for the rest of his days with the guilt and the shame that he had done so to a friend. And in a real sense, Judas not only betrayed Jesus, but he betrayed himself. His days were short; they were numbered after that. He ended up throwing the 30 pieces of silver back into the temple, not wanting them; they meant nothing to him anymore. And then, in his remorse and in his demented state, took his own life. Judas betrayed hunself.

It is a sad day when we betray ourselves and betray our friends. It is a wonderful time in our life when we can go to bed at night with a conscience that is clear, that can rest easily because it doesn't worry about discovery.

Put off that day of betrayal as long as you can. Put it off forever if it's possible. Judas' experience is one that teaches us that there is no amount of money and there is no piece of mind for people who betray. And so, if  Judas had only gone to the Lord and asked for the mercy and the forgiveness that would have been freely given him, but yet he stayed in his sin, and he betrayed himself.

The thief on the cross hanging next to Jesus experienced mercy, "This day you will be with me in paradise." Judas could have heard those words as well, except that his own betrayal of himself would not allow it.

So, as we enter into these last few days of Holy Week, the Triduum beginning tomorrow with Holy Thursday — and we will be re-enter those sacred moments when Christ gave his life so that we might know God's love and divine mercy — let's not make the same mistake and betray ourselves. Let's experience it, and tonight we have the opportunity to know God's mercy and forgiveness in our penance service when we have several priests who will be here tonight to hear our confession. And we can hear those words of Christ given to us through the church, "Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace."

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