By: Chibuzor F. Ogamba
With the Lenten Season having come to an end and the glorious season of Easter approaching, I didn't want these profound moments to go by without sharing some of my meditations with you. Truly, this season has been really eventful for me, in ways that I did not expect. I have learnt a lot, and a lot has happened to me too.
But going through the activities that spice up our Lenten experience; the mass, the stations of the cross, confessions and other devotions, something did indeed cause me to pause and wonder a little. You know, most times we read the Bible- and this is something I have also learnt during the course of this season, most times we read the Bible and when we see Our Lord facing off probably the Pharisees and the Scribes or sinners we subconsciously prefer to hide behind our Lord and join him to point accusing fingers at those people. In our minds we are like, 'Yes Lord, tell them! Preach it! They are pharisees, hypocrites!' and we continue to go on and on. This happens when in reality we are no different from these people whom we think are worse off, and when we do these things we ourselves become what we accuse them of,
It is really important for us to always allow the Gospel to challenge us, especially in those instances when Our Lord speaks to sinners and pharisees, we should search deep in ourselves for those things which our Lord is so worried about in those people lest he also become worried about us too. This is really so especially in the case of Judas. A lot of people read the texts about Judas and they only worry their heads and hearts with things like, 'was Judas guilty or innocent? was it his fault? was he not predestined? Is he in Hell?'. We have not asked ourselves, what exactly did Judas do? why exactly was he a candidate for these discussions and not for example Peter who denied Jesus three times not even allowing the cock to crow twice.
There are two passages I would like us to ponder on, the first is John 13:21, 'When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in his spirit and said, 'Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me', and St. Mark adds in Mark 14:18, '-one who is eating with me'. There are so many ways in which this passage about Judas speaks to us and indeed represent what we do even as Christians. Imagine that you were at table with the Lord when these events were taking place, when He made this comment, and you need not imagine any further, we all are at table indeed with the Lord at least every Sunday, each time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord's Supper, where we are indeed with all the Apostles that were at table that Night, and you have been with Our Lord throughout his ministry, his teaching, his works and signs, his entire life from Advent to Christmas, to his Baptism up to that moment at table, when he makes this statement, this statement, the thought of which caused him deep sorrow, one of us who is eating with him, one of us will let him down.
Think about these things and let us ask ourselves, do we betray Jesus at all in our very lives? How many times have we been faced with choices, to either show him love by obeying his word or crucify him by sin, yet we consciously and subconsciously choose the latter? How many times do we go to eat with him only to come out and insult and disgrace him before those who hate him, deny him and tell those people to forget about him, that he has nothing to offer? How many times at all do we at least consider how he feels about our decisions, our company, our movements our lives? The list is inexhaustible, for our world is this way because we Christians many times model Judas and not Jesus. Many people see a Jesus worth betraying in us rather than a Jesus worth defending, and so why should they believe anything you are saying? It is Aristotle who said in his Nicomachean Ethics that even the Wicked cannot trust the Wicked. Alas who is it worse for? You and I who eat at table with Jesus or the people who don't even know who he is.
Let us not forget the prophecy about Judas, that it was better for him not even to have been born and consider that in many ways and in many things we do as Christians as young Catholics, It was better for us not even to have been born, not even to have been born again into the Kingdom of God. (cf Matthew 26:24).
Brothers and Sisters, we are indeed weak, and that is why we have the grace of the confessional and the Eucharist, Jesus himself wants to help us, he has come to give us Easter Joy, we need to repent like Peter for there is hope, and not continue like Judas in condemning ourselves, let us approach the confessional and ask for God's forgiveness and grace. He wants to help us. He wants to love us. Let us allow God to Love us.
Hope I have not come out too harsh! Happy New Month My Brothers and Sisters!!!