Friday, July 27, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Betrayal and Repentance

Journey, Quint-tych, jfd+ 2012
Psalms 40, 54 * 51; Joshua 9:22-10:15; Romans 15:14-24; Matthew 27:1-10

Judas takes center stage in the ten verses we have today from Matthew. Jesus is handed over to Pilate, and Judas sees what he has done and he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. He tells them he has sinned but they refuse to entertain anything from him. Judas tosses the coins on the floor, leaves and kills himself. The chief priests don't want anything to do with the money, as it was used for inappropriate purposes - but come to utilize it to buy a field in which foreigners can be buried.

Some jeer at the character Judas, others cheer at his demise. Others question how he could be so dense and selfish and petulant. But, aren't his character traits so very human, seen in every day occurrences in our world? People, all of us, make mistakes everyday. Some bigger than others. Some have consequences that seem impossible from which to come back. Yet, Judas repented and tried to stop that which could not be stopped. Could Judas have been forgiven? Isn't that one of the precepts and underpinnings of our faith...that all of us can be forgiven?

And, isn't Judas a foil for something greater that is about to happen in Matthew's account? Could Jesus' Passion have happened the way the writers of the Gospel intended (which are based so heavily on the prophetic writings of Hebrew Scripture) without this betrayal? I have often wondered if it is fair to cast stones at the character Judas. 

Haven't we all been, or known someone close to us, who has to some extent been Judas? Acted out the part of Judas?

I do believe that we all can be forgiven for whatever sin we may commit. We won't be able to stop the consequences or repercussions of those actions, but God's forgiveness is present for each one of us. Of that, I am quite sure. Forgiveness and stopping consequences are two very different things.

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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