I was reflecting on Judas in preparation for a brief lunchtime reflection I’m giving tomorrow. As I re-read Matthew’s account of Jesus colloquy with Judas about his imminant act of betrayal, I realized that there is a temptation to view people like Judas as different from us, outside of us. We distance ourselves from Judas, congratulating ourselves (much like the Pharisee in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector) that we are not like him. Not like the one who betrayed the Lord.
At one level, fair enough. Doubtless none of us pursuing a spiritual path has committed a single act of betrayal that approaches the enormity of Judas’ act (which one commentator called “the most ignoble of sins, betraying his master and friend with a kiss”). But don’t we all at various times commit acts that betray Jesus? We don’t literally trade the life of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. But don’t we in various ways trade Jesus for things that are the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver (or less)? If we are honest, we have to admit that, like Paul, we all at times “do not do the things I want to do, but I do the things I do not want.” We commit all sorts of small betrayals
Rather than comfortably distancing ourselves from Judas, we would each do well to ask, what are my 30 pieces of silver? What are the things that tempt me to turn away from Jesus? To betray the truth of who I am and my relationship with Jesus?