Rorate Caeli

Holy Week: Jesus betrayed and sold

Jesus betrayed and sold
(from Saint Bonaventure's Lignum Vitae)

Antonio Castillo Lastrucci
El beso de Judas
Hermandad del Prendimiento, Málaga

For anyone who wishes to meditate upon the Passion of Jesus, the first thing that comes under his gaze is the perfidy of the traitor. He was so full of poisonous deceit as to betray his Master and Lord; so inflamed with the fires of concupiscence that he exchanged the greatness of God for silver and the most precious Blood of Christ for coins; he was so full of ingratitude that he persecuted unto death the One who had made him the domestic administrator (that is, the treasurer) and raised him to the exalted heights of an Apostle; he was so cruel that not even the familiarity of the supper, nor the humility of the washing (of feet), nor the sweetness of colloquy dissuaded him from his perfidious machinations!

O what excessive love of the Lord towards His hardened disciple and of the pious Master towards his most wicked servant! Clearly, it would have been better “if he had not been born!” (Mt. 26:24).

But even if the impiety of the traitor is not fully laid bare, we are infinitely more struck by the exceeding meekness of the Lamb of God. A meekness that has been given as a model to mortals. The weak human heart, betrayed by a friendship, could never be capable of saying. “For if my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it,” (Ps 54:13). 

Yet here we have a man of unique confidences, one who seemed to be of one heart with the Lord, His counselor and intimate friend, one who had partaken of Christ’s bread, one, who, at the holy supper, ate sweet delights with Him – this man planned a strike of iniquity against Him. And nonetheless…the meekest Lamb, did not hesitate to give Himself prey to his wicked lips, which in the hour of betrayal, would kiss Him. And He expressed this to Judas so as to deny him nothing, so as to give him every possibility to soften the pertinacity of his evil heart.

[From De Vita Contemplativa, The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate,Italy. Translated and adapted by Contributor Francesca Romana]