“See His body, His blood, know that He has overcome every trial we will face” – Matt Maher
Sounds nice, right? Lately I’ve struggled to believe that Jesus has overcome every single trial we will face. I fully believe that He suffered, but I struggle to relate to Him in some sense because He was a man, not a woman. Does He know what it is like to struggle and suffer as a woman? Surely, He is fully divine, He knows everything. Nonetheless I’ve found it difficult to come to Him lately with the struggles and pains that lay before my feminine heart. At least I did until last night.
At Mass as Father said the prayer for consecration he got choked up as he said, “on the night He was betrayed” and then he paused. It hit me: even Jesus was betrayed by one He loved, one He had traveled with and taught for months, even years. I knelt there and as Father got choke up, I did too, thinking about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and betrayals in my own life. Sometimes I wonder how we can ever believe people’s words. There was a time when a man or a woman’s word was as good as gold, but that time has passed. “I love you” and “we’ll be together forever” don’t seem to mean much in today’s society. How do we go on believing that what people say to us will hold true, especially given the fact that one of Jesus’ closest followers betrayed Him? We look to Him. The Eucharistic Prayer continues, “…and entered willingly into His Passion.” Jesus had been betrayed and yet He still chose to willingly enter into the Passion. This gives us hope in two ways:
1. Jesus didn’t chastise Judas for betraying Him, He didn’t banish him from the Last Supper, He still invited Judas to dine with Him, for His last and most important meal. This is the same kind of love we are called to: dining with those who betray us and loving them still, loving them unconditionally, no matter the pain and heartbreak their betrayal may have caused us.
2. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus set in motion the events which led to the Cruficifixion. Why does this give us hope? Because only by being crucified could Jesus be resurrected. Even in the face of betrayal God brought light to a seemingly depressing state. I’m not saying that all betrayal and lies are good things but rather that God can bring about beauty from pain.
Judas, after all, betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Judas didn’t betray Jesus with a handshake or a head nod, but a kiss, an intimate, personal act. Surely, Jesus relates to our betrayals and He knows how painful it is to be betrayed by someone you trust so deeply, so intimately.
I wonder how many times (not necessarily recorded in Scripture) Judas told Jesus that he loved Him. I wonder how many times Judas said that he would never abandon, lie to or betray Jesus. I want to, I have to believe that he meant them when he said them to Jesus. I want to believe that when we say things like “I love you” and “I want to be with you forever” we mean them. Sadly, those sentiments change (more on that some other time), but even when our emotions change God can bring light to our pain. He can make our suffering redemptive, fruitful and even glorious. I believe Judas loved Jesus. I believe Judas meant it when he told Jesus that he loved Him because if I don’t believe that then I may never believe anyone means anything they ever say and that is a circumstance too hopeless to even consider.
Even Jesus was betrayed and no doubt His heart ached when Judas betrayed Him, whether or not Jesus knew the betrayal was coming. And yet by the wonder of God the most beautiful gift we have ever been given – the self-sacrifice of Jesus – came about all because of a betrayal. Even in our darkest hour we still have hope. Cling to that hope with all you have because I firmly believe that hope brings our hearts closer to Him.
What I’m Listening To:
“Remembrance (Communion Song)” by Matt Maher
“The Vision of Love” by Kris Allen
“As You Turn Away” by Lady Antebellum
“Here” by Kari Jobe