|Giotto (14th c.), detail of Judas|
Judas clearly chose to betray Jesus. This was no sudden impulse. It was a premeditated decision to sell his Master for money.
But why? Surely, Judas had once loved Jesus. He left everything to follow Him. How did this love die?
It probably began slowly. Perhaps what happened to Judas, in the beginning, was the same thing that happens so often to us.
As the fervor of his first love was tested, and as he began to realize that Jesus and His plan were not like his initial hopes, Judas allowed disappointment to creep into his love. Over time, his love for Jesus grew cold, even though he continued to “go through the motions” of discipleship.
As disappointment grew into bitterness, his heart turned to other loves: money, personal ambition, independence, perhaps even the desire to follow someone else. We don’t know.
But we face the same temptation to betray someone we love. Consider our commitment to our marriage. Time inevitably reveals that our spouse is different, and that God’s plan for our marriage is different than we first imagined. Here we are challenged: Will we trust in God, be faithful, and allow love to grow? Or will we give in to disappointment, begin to seek other loves, and slowly betray the other person (and God) even as we still “go through the motions”?
Father of love, protect our hearts from the disappointment that leads to betrayal, and grant us the faith to follow your mysterious and loving plan, rather than selfishly clinging to our own expectations. We ask this in the name of Jesus your Son, who has loved us to the end. Amen.
[Published in Magnificat Lenten Companion, 2014, p. 60]