Monday, 18 April 2011

Station II: Jesus Betrayed by Judas and Arrested

How easy it is, when someone does something to offend or upset, to take the moral high-ground and curse their very bones. Imagine the Passion without Judas Iscariot and you will envisage a story that never starts, the proverbial damp squib. The Last Supper would become just supper, the prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane would simply be reduced to 'and Jesus withdrew for a short time before...'. 

As a priest who believes that I am called to my Orders by God, I have a healthy respect for the sense of calling that all people have. The son of Simon Iscariot was called to be the Betrayer, and he met his calling well. I have always had a soft-spot for Judas, because there is much of his experience that mirrors Jesus's own. He was a man of faith, a man who loved Jesus. He will have given up just about everything to walk with him in faith, so his own agony of dilemma would have been terrible. Let us not forget too, that he is the other person in our Passion who makes the sacrifice of his own life to fulfill his own calling. 

Let us spare a thought for Jesus too. We all know how it feels to be betrayed by someone that we thought we trusted, that assault upon us by the last person that we ever expected. It is the most bitter pill to swallow - and I am willing to wager that in the midst of the scourges and whips, Jesus lamented amid his own searing agony - 'but of all people, Judas...'. Two men, both called, both destined to die for that calling, set in opposition one to the other. Jesus, reviled and scorned in the present; Judas to be scorned and reviled for the rest of time.

"Friend, do what you are here to do" [Mt 26:50]

My prayer at this Station is for those people who have little choice but to take actions that will see them condemned. I pray too for the outcast, the misunderstood, and for those who will take their own lives. 

Lord Jesus, you were betrayed by the kiss of a friend:

be with those who are betrayed and slandered and falsely accused.
You knew the experience of having your love
thrown back in your face for mere silver:
be with families which are torn apart by mistrust or temptation.
To you, Jesus, who offered your face to your betrayer,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen

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