Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard is, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.(Mark 14:10-11)
Whenever I think of Lent, I think of this passage which will be read on the Wednesday of Holy Week. I wonder if there are any of these deals I have made without knowing it to betray Jesus. When I was younger, I used to think I would not betray him or desert him. Yet, having children disabused me of any notion that I did not betray him in some way.
I betray him a thousand times a day, it seems. I have spoken too strongly to my child. I have planned to do something I shouldn’t do. I have given in to a sin with which I know is coming, yet, I do it anyway when I could have stopped it. I blurt out something that is unkind to someone who wonders why their priest would say such a thing. I talk too much in a conversation (which is gluttony). These are just to name a few things I do.
Some of these sins are against others. Some are against the commandments, and thus, against God only. Yet, they are all betrayals of the purpose of the Cross: to save us and make us holy people. I am, in my own way, Judas Iscariot. When I should be working with Christ, I work for my own purposes against him.
Lent gives us an opportunity to walk away from our betrayals by inviting us to pick something about ourselves which is a betrayal and change it. Lent invites us to fast from something that is unhealthy and fill that time, that space, with extra prayer, giving to the poor, writing notes to people with whom we should reconcile, or some other thing we should be doing.
I would like to invite you to come to Reconciliation to start your Lent out with a clean slate and the power of renewal in the Holy Spirit to leave your betrayals behind. This Saturday, I am starting Reconciliation immediately after Saturday morning Mass and will stay until the last person has had a chance to be renewed. Come receive the joy of being forgiven in the Sacrament as you begin your journey to renewal this Lent.