20 April 2011

Holy Wednesday

The official name for today is "Wednesday of Holy Week"; the unofficial, but traditional, name is "Spy Wednesday", in which we recall the first act in the betrayal of Our Lord.

Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver. And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him. [Matthew 26:14-16]

And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray him to them.  Who hearing it were glad; and they promised him they would give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him. [Mark 14:10,11]

And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death: but they feared the people. And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve. And he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised. And he sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude. [Luke 22:2-6]

Today we revile all those who would betray their friends and neighbors for money or security, happy in our belief that we would never do such a thing.  We watch depictions of the Salem Witch Trials, or the Nazi take-over of Europe, and preen ourselves that we would never denounce anyone to the authorities - not us, because we are so much more enlightened than our ancestors.

On the other hand, consider this:

The woman - living on welfare or on a career fast-track - who has an abortion, because "I can't afford to have a child." That baby's life was betrayed for money.

The woman who refuses to face the fact that her husband or boyfriend is abusing her children, because if she does, she and the children will have to find somewhere else to live and "I can't afford that".  Those children have been betrayed for money.

The businessman who equates moral law with government law and enriches himself by stealing funds from invested retirement accounts through bubble schemes, because there is no law against it. Those retirees, who will never see a penny of their justly earned retirement fund and are facing a bleak old age, have been betrayed for money.

The son or daughter who determines that Mom/Dad have lived long enough; if they live much longer, the medical bills will swallow up anything that their children are hoping to inherit; they are going to die anyway, so why not put them down now. That parent has been betrayed for money.

All of the above, and more besides, can be excused with seemingly altruistic motives, just as apologists have been excusing Judas' betrayal for years; but make no mistake.  Judas betrayed his Lord through a love of money, and it is the love of money which causes us - especially the 'enlightened' ones - to acts of betrayal as well.
Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam
Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea et a peccato meo munda me
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco et peccatum meum contra me est semper

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.
And according to Thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my iniquity and my sin is always before me.