Posted by: fvbcdm | April 6, 2012

Wednesday in Holy Week (4 April 2012)

If you look at old missals or church calendars, you will sometimes find that the Wednesday of Holy Week was called “Spy Wednesday.”  The reason was that Judas Iscariot, one of our Lord’s twelve apostles, had made a deal with the enemies of Jesus to deliver Jesus into their hands, and now he began to spy upon our Lord to decide the best time and way to betray his master into the hands of his enemies. 

There are several passages in the gospels that give us a tragically sad idea of what Judas was like.  When Saint Mary of Bethany poured expensive perfume over Our Lord’s head and feet, Judas asked, “Why this waste?”  In his opinion, the anointing of the body of Jesus, which was a generous and beautiful gesture on the part of Mary, was simply “waste.” Then Saint John the evangelist explains to us why Judas called that gesture “waste.”  It is because Judas was a thief and used to take the money given to Jesus and the other apostles for their sustenance.  Had Mary given the money to them rather than buying perfume with it, Judas could have stolen some, if not all, of it.

Then, when it became clear that the religious leaders of Jerusalem wanted to kill Jesus, Judas saw an opportunity to turn their desire to money for himself.  He went to them and began his conversation with them by saying “How much will you give me . . . .?”  Thirty pieces of silver was the price agreed upon. Our Lord’s enemies were willing to give that much to capture Our Lord, and Judas was delighted to make some easy money by betraying his Lord and Master.  

And one last indication of the sort of man Judas was.  The enemies of Jesus needed a sign by which Jesus could be identified in the dark, since what they were going to do was to be done at night, outside.  Judas came up with a sign: the man he would kiss, THAT was the one they wanted.  And when Judas came up to Our Divine Lord and kissed him, Jesus asked, almost incredulously, “Judas, you betray me with a KISS?”  By this act of love you show your indifference to me, the God of love itself?  Yes; that’s the way Judas did it.  Ordinarily when one person kisses another, it means “I love you.”  In this case, it means “You mean nothing to me, and I gladly betray you for an amount of money.”  That is why this day was called Spy Wednesday; that is why the very name “Judas” has come to be synonymous with treachery and malice.  

In these next four days, there will be two groups of people who appear in the gospels. One group is composed of Annas, Caiaphas, Herod, Pilate, the torturers of Jesus and his executioners.  And of course, Judas.  The other group is composed of Our Blessed Mother, Saint John the Apostle, Saint Mary Magdalene and the other devoted women who stood at the foot of the cross with Our Lady; Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.  Let us consider them both carefully, and then decide with whom we will side. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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