On how the Lord Jesus went to meet his betrayer
LORD JESUS CHRIST, Saviour and Deliverer, I bless and thank you for your readiness and willingness to undergo your Passion. After you had offered your thrice-repeated petition to God, your cruel enemies arrived amid the night's darkness, with your betrayer the evil Judas - a large crowd with staves and swords, arms and torches, as if to apprehend a thief. At that moment you went out to meet them saying: "Whom do you seek?....I am he. If you seek me, let these others go" John 18:7-8. At your first word, so filled with power, their proud defiance was discomfitted and brought to utter confusion, and immediately they all fell backward, collapsing to the ground. What would have happened if you had summoned twelve legions of angels? Since you had come among us to suffer, you chose not to use your divine power but to make known your benign patience. By a single word you showed what power is actually yours, and for a time you permitted the impious to have the upper hand in grievously insulting you. Thus you made it clear that you were willingly entering upon your Passion to bring about our redemption and, thereby, to fulfill the writings of the prophets. I praise and glorify you, Jesus Christ, most innocent Lamb of God, for your unspeakable meekness and overwhelming kindness in not being aroused with wrath against your most deceitful betrayer or angrily turning away from him. Rather you kindly deigned to engage him in friendly conversation calling him, in your usual and gentle manner, Friend, and you gave him, though unworthy, a tender kiss with your lips and lovingly said: "Friend, why have you come? "Matt 26:50.
With such words as these, you admonished his rashness, his iniquity, and his disloyalty: "Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Luke 22:48. Even more sadly, he, who once was numbered among the apostles - neither fearing the divine justice nor swayed by your friendship - did not refrain from extending his hands to the most heinous of crimes, and now, as head of this band of ruffians, he gave them as the signal: "Whomever I shall kiss, it is he. Take hold of him" Mark 14:44. O most wicked disciple and most loving Master! O base servant and most faithful Lord!
How admirable your behaviour, how wonderful your patience, most gentle and kind Jesus! In the very act of his carrying out this shameful betrayal, you did not forget your old friendship and affection, but in return for so great an injury done to you, you exercised your healing power, for when a disciple cut off the ear of one of the high priest's servants, you restored it by the touch of your sacred hand. You restrained Peter, then defending you from those attacking you, saying: "Put back your sword where it belongs. Am I not to drink the cap which the Father has given me to drink? Thus it is to be" John 18:11. I now ask you, my God, grant me, since I am but a frail reed, greater patience amid my trials, and may sudden anger never overwhelm me, nor the spirit of revenge inflame me, when my enemies utter insults against me, or when accusations are made of which I know I am innocent. Grant me not to fear my accuser but to receive his allegations in good spirit and to look upon him, who so discourteously blames and slanders me, as a friend.
Let no indignation arise in me for any harshness shown me, nor let any remembrance of unjust offenses remain in me. May your most benign bearing of such evil treatment strengthen my will by granting it patience, as well as the desire to endure even greater trials for love of you.
Meditating on the text with Jay.
Reading this meditation we can almost see Our Lord in the last moments before His Passion marked by arrival of infamous Judas with armed soldiers to arrest His own God and Redeemer in the darkness of Gethsemane gardens. The price for the life of God-man was to be quite modest, thirty pieces of silver. Jesus knew Judas perfectly well, man with no shame, who thought nothing to repay evil for goodness and generosity he experienced from His Master during years spent in discipleship. But alas, Our Lord charged Judas - who was nothing more than a little thief - with managing funds of the whole ministry! Doing this, He gave Judas chance to improve, to practice honesty and truth, to renounce vice and grow in virtue and to govern his wicked inclinations. Goodness and trust was given to Judas very generously, but it was not appreciated, Judas could not overcome his own dishonesty. Our Lord knew Judas' weakness but always treated him with meekness and kindness. In the same way Jesus behaves now when Judas suddenly approaches him in the middle of the night in the place where Jesus usually prayed in solitude. Seeing Judas, Our Lord says with great calm: "Friend, why have you come?" With these words Our Lord gives Judas the last chance to withdraw from the wicked plans and repent. He certainly could do this. We almost feel Our Lord's compassion for this greedy wretch. Surely, the same compassion, meekness and kindness Our Lord reserves for each one of us, for every sinner here on earth. He is the Lord of all compassion.In God's eyes we are all sinners, no doubt about this and thinking otherwise we would live in delusion. All He requires of us is whole hearted repentance and amendment of lives. We are given big credit with our lives, the price is already paid, we just need to live worthily to obtain the gift at the end of race called salvation. Living worthily, is to live God's word, with our will conformed to His will. Can we do this?