(Part 48)


April 1, 2015

Today’s gospel:  Matthew 26:14-25

Judas betrayed Jesus. Now we would never do that. Or would we?

We have been called by Jesus and we are sent to proclaim the good news of salvation in him. This is the most important work we are called to do. How we respond will determine whether the salvation won by Jesus will be experienced by others. Thus our response has eternal consequences.

Not only that. Jesus depends on us, his people, alone. If we do not do it, then it does not get done. If we do not bring in the harvest, then the potential harvest withers on the vine. God simply awaits our action, so that His intent for the life of the world is accomplished.

So Jesus sends us. We are “apostles” or “those sent.” In what ways then might we betray Jesus and what he has entrusted us with?

We betray Jesus when, instead of striving to live lives of holiness, we continue to just coast along, living a mediocre Christian life. As such, Jesus is unable to use us in the way he desires. We would lack the powerful witness that characterizes Spirit-filled evangelization.

We betray Jesus when, instead of being consumed with zeal for the proclamation of the gospel, we have our other priorities, agenda, preferences and directions. We pursue more the world’s calling rather than the Lord’s. We are busy with our personal interests rather than the Lord’s.

We betray Jesus when, instead of giving the money due from us to be used for mission, we spend it on ourselves. As such, our community is unable, due to a lack of funds, to expand its mission. In this way we steal from God, and rather than giving money to the Lord’s treasury, it is we who are paid “thirty pieces of silver” (v.15b).

On the eve of the passion of Jesus, let us reflect. Perhaps we might hear Jesus say, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (v.21). Your reaction would probably be immediate and distressed. “Surely it is not I, Lord?” (v.22b). But think again. For “Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, ‘Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’” (v.25a).

Examine yourself more closely. Because the consequences of betraying Jesus are severe. Indeed, “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” (v.24). We were born to evangelize. This is one basic reason for our existence. If we do not, then why are we alive? Our life would have no meaning, and it would thus be better if we had never been born.

So examine yourself. It is not too late to change course. We can still be the apostles we were meant to be.

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