At supper with his friends, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” (John 13:21 NRSV).
Jesus was not the only one who had a problem with Judas. I have some problems with Judas, the role he played and his reputation. It is true that Judas betrayed Jesus in the most horrendous way. On the other hand, if it was God’s will for Jesus to be crucified as He was, didn’t Judas fulfill the role God intended him to play? As I think of who Judas was and what he did, to me the most powerful thing was that in spite of what Judas did, Jesus still loved Judas. In so doing, Jesus did Himself what He taught about “love your enemies” in Matthew 5:43-48.
Whatever it is that we are suppose to contemplate today; this part of the Holy Week story is mysterious at best.
Perhaps Judas reminds us of being at a holiday dinner table with the one relative that is the most challenging for us to get along with. If you are like me, the hardest thing to do with someone like that is to keep my mouth shut and avoid letting that person get under my skin.
If Jesus’ encounter with Judas teaches us nothing else; it shows His humility in accepting what was to happen to Him.
Indeed, the hardest part of St. Benedict’s chapter 7 on humility in The Rule to understand and accept is rungs six and seven. On rung six of the ladder of humility, St. Benedict tells the monk to be content with “the lowest and most menial treatment.” On rung seven, the monk is told to admit “with his tongue and be convinced that he is inferior and of less value.” It is a mistake for us to interpret Benedict as saying that the monk is suppose to have a low self esteem or accept abuse in any form. What he is saying is that we tend to be all caught up in our false-sense of self. We like our first place in line. We like to be approved of. Liked. Cherished. No one is as important as we are individually. St. Benedict is telling us to live as Jesus did. He is telling us to accept and live into from our true sense of self, our essence even when we are last on the likable list. St. Benedict is teaching us to find our worth, our stature, our place in line; in God alone. St. Benedict is telling us what Jesus is showing us. Let go and trust in God alone.
How is Jesus challenging you to live from your essence today?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB