Seeing past the schemes of men
In today’s Gospel from the Mass (Matt 26:14-25), Judas Iscariot schemes to betray Christ, thinking that he is pulling a fast one.
 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests  and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.  And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.  Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?”  He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.'”  And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.  When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples;  and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”  And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”  He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me.  The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”  Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Jesus Christ sees past the schemes of men. Consider:
- From the Gospel accounts, it appears that Judas’ motive for betraying Jesus was greed (e.g. the 30 pieces of silver). Perhaps he had other reasons for betraying Jesus (e.g. out of jealousy; less likely, to be a catalyst for a Jesus/Jewish Leadership showdown).
- Whatever the motivation, it is clear that Judas is seeking to act in secret. He secures the bounty for Christ and then schemes and plans for the “opportunity to betray” Jesus.
- Despite Judas’ machinations, Jesus knows all along what is happening and who will betray Him.
- Judas goes so far as to try to deceive Jesus to His face, saying with attempted innocence, “Is it I, Master?”
- It is interesting to note: Jesus does not say “Yes”, but rather, “You have said so.” This demonstrates directly to Judas that Jesus knows what has occurred. Despite that, Judas goes on with his dastardly plan.
As with all the art that is used in this blog, today’s picture offers an insight into the Gospel. Judas has turned his back on Jesus and is looking down, scheming, his face in shadows and furled in anger. Jesus is looking past Judas, upward, lit with a Holy Light, looking towards the Father.
Judas will betray Jesus and go to his death and, perhaps Hell; though, the Church doesn’t teach that Judas is in Hell with the understanding that even the worst sinners can repent and God has infinite mercy. Jesus will die and rise again to Heaven.
The Gospel should give us pause: How am I “scheming” today, seeking something that is a betrayal to our Lord Jesus Christ? How much time am I spending thinking about “getting” my 30 pieces of silver versus seeking Christ’s word in my life?
Lord let this Holy Week open our eyes to our betrayals of You and heal us.