Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week - Betrayal, An Opportunity To Practice Forgiveness

Betrayal by someone (or an entity) you trust is a punch in the gut . . . a shock to the system. It can cause anger, sadness, and deep hurt. Walls go up around your heart so it is never wounded to that degree again. We begin to question ourselves and our lives. Did we deserve it? Are we not worth loving? The answers are . . . NO we do not deserve it. And, YES, we are worth loving. Human beings react imperfectly, as everyone of us is imperfect. But when others believe they are superior to us, their actions are no different than the Pharisees were in judgement of Jesus. Jesus was betrayed by one of His Twelve. Did He get upset, feeling unloved by this apostle? Or, did He forgive? We all know the answer . . . and must emulate Our Savior when faced with betrayal. For the betrayers will face Him one day, and have to account for their sins just as we all will account for our own sins. See betrayal as an opportunity to practice forgiveness. Let Christ provide the justice we seek to attain on our own.  

Todays Gospel (Matthew 26: 14-25) finds Jesus calm in spite of the coming events, which He knows involves betrayal of His Love:

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,  went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;  in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘“ The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said,  “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but 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.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”

The following quote from Anne a lay apostle in her book Whispers From the Cross gave me (and continues to give me) comfort in times of betrayal:

"There is something beautiful about betrayal. It can be an exquisite thing, a breath-stopping moment for an apostle. The reason betrayal can be exquisite is because it is a ‘call to follow’ of the highest order. How did Jesus handle betrayal? Jesus handled it like a lamb. This does not mean that He was not tempted to bitterness but we know that He successfully overcame these temptations because one of his last statements was a plea for the Father to forgive those who were hurting Him. We must do the same. The reason a moment of betrayal must be breath-stopping is because in every betrayal the enemy has seeded a plan of destruction. At the very least, the enemy hopes to destroy our peace. At the very most, the enemy hopes for alteration of a heavenly plan. If our breath stops in the face of a betrayal, let that be a good thing because we want to move oh-so-carefully. We want to examine each possible course of action and separate our personal reaction from the response God should be able to expect from a holy apostle. In the course of each life, we can expect to be betrayed. We can expect others to turn against us and be false, even perhaps while they pretend to be our friends. Falseness hurts the most. A proclaimed enemy at least allows us to be on guard. When one pretends to be a friend, we allow love to flow through us to them. We give. Our guard is down. When this love is exploited and it is found that person has abused love, one’s trust can be badly shaken. Such hurt. The only place to take it is to the foot of the Crucified Christ. That is the only place where it will make sense. And, when we deliver this hurt to Jesus, He is able to console us and guide us through the temptations that accompany betrayal."

Lay apostles, stop for a minute and imagine all Anne has gone through for Jesus and this mission! Whenever I slip into feeling I have been wronged, I think of her . . . every time. I think of how she lets the bad stuff go and continues on with the work Jesus has asked of her. Can you imagine being a wife and mother of 6, AND being a spokesperson for Christ? Please, do as I try to do when betrayal hits . . . forgive as Jesus has taught us through the Gospels and in all of Anne's writings. Heaven is the ultimate goal and we won't get there without clearing out all anger, etc. 

Thank you, Lord, especially today for Anne and her 'yes' to You. Without this mission, it would have taken me so much longer to get here!

God bless,

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