Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Week: Holy Thursday

Today is Holy Thursday ... at this evening's Mass, the priest will recreate the institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when Jesus, at the Last Supper, gives the apostles bread and wine.  This is a wonderful Mass and celebration of that first feast -- remembered down through the ages at each and every Catholic Mass celebrated throughout the world. 

How cool is that?
This is Giotto's version of the Last Supper.  I like it better than DaVinci's because Jesus is at the top of the table ... like a father sitting with his family ... and it's a little harder to pick Judas out from the other 11 apostles.  I think it would have been hard for the others to know which was the one who would betray their Lord because it's first, hard to imagine that anyone would (!) but then we all do crazy things when we're fearful or discouraged or dispairing ... even to selling out an innocent man for the price of slave.

Someone commented on yesterday's post about Spy Wednesday.  The comment was basically wasn't Judas just helping to fulfill God's plan by betraying Jesus and thus Judas is more to be pitied as a pawn rather than as a thief and betrayer. 

I'm not a theologian but I've thought about this for many years and here's my uneducated but faith-filled belief:  God gave us ALL a free will so Judas didn't HAVE to betray Jesus; he could have denied the devil, returned the money (or not gone after it at all), and talked to Jesus.  But, and this is the important part ... he DIDN'T and ends, tradition tells us, by commiting suicide rather than face the consequences of his actions. 

As Matthew relates in his gospel:
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.
So Judas purposely went and found the chief priests, broached the subject of his betrayal to them, and then "looked for an opportunity" to betray Jesus.  Just before each of those steps, Judas could have stopped himself and didn't; he COULD have "snapped out of it" and didn't.  Later in that same retelling, Peter denies Jesus three times ... but Jesus forgives Peter because Peter is contrite and weeps bitterly, a sign of truly repentant spirit.  Judas seals his betrayal with a kiss and later, in dispair, kills himself!

Prayers for a healthy and holy Triduum ...

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