And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead [him] away safely.
And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.
Mark 14:43 - 14:45
Now the crowds come again - but this time with swords instead palm stems! How quickly things can change! In our own lives too of course. Where once there was fellowship, kinship and love - now there is hatred, suspicion & fear. Bonds are broken - brothers & sisters are enemies - even unto death.
Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
On the night of the Last Supper Jesus speaks openly of the betrayal soon to come - for he knows the secrets of all their hearts. It is the moment tenderly depicted in Giotto’s fresco of The Last Supper - where we see Simon Peter leaning upon Jesus’ chest.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Matthew 26:36-46 King James Version (KJV)
Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
Matthew 26:36-46 King James Version (KJV)
How did it come to this? How have I found myself here - in this utterly untenable predicament? Why! Oh Why did I act as I did?
We know of course that Judas had lost trust in Jesus over the incident with the oil. He couldn't see how it was justified and was not convinced by what Jesus told him. It is likely he felt Jesus was contradicting himself and so he judged him! The rest we already know!
Betrayals are so often based on judgements such as these that we have no right to make, for in doing so we put ourselves above the other - we create a narrative about them where there is no way for them to come out right. We are righteous, indignant & justified in whatever action we then choose to pursue.
But so frequently - as is so glaringly obvious here - Judas was simply unaware of the greater picture - the greater purpose and meaning behind Jesus' acceptance of Mary's generosity.
Forgiveness for such betrayals may take a lifetime to arrive at yet not so it seems for Jesus as we see - and again so perfectly illuminated by Giotto - in the huge difference of expression in the eyes of the two men - where one is full of enmity - the other shows only love.
How far will we stand back, so to speak - in the run up to getting our world back on track after the pandemic - of restarting the economy, filling the skies with planes - the seas with plastic & the airwaves with 5G ?
A virus we are told is simply a response to nature - in its broader sense - becoming over stressed - of falling into dis-ease - dis-harmony - and all the rest.
I have a tiny grand - daughter in Spain. Yesterday I told my daughter after looking at her lovely photo - I don’t want to stop flying - and there it is you see - as it is for all - the being holy when it suits - but then making exceptions - standing back from our own rhetoric - for personal gain. Oh dear! Oh dear!
We’re in a right fix Mr Frodo, says Sam.
- as they approach the ruined realms of Mordor - and no mistake!
We are all frail - even Frodo fails in his resolve at the end. Christ understood our weaknesses and though it hurt - though it left him lonely in those last few hours before his betrayal, when he prayed in agony in the garden for his cup to be taken from him, he knew.
They had been tasked with keeping watch, as we have been - as we have all been in a way - the betrayer was at hand - as it always is within us. But they had quickly fallen asleep - like frail mortals - fallen into unconsciousness - like the court of Sleeping Beauty - unable to keep awake - to keep alert - even with the threat was so close.
And so it has ever been. And all is forgiven in the end of course and yet still there is a moment - reflected throughout the entire story of Holy Week - to go a different way - to not just create more of the same but to evolve - to quantum leap - shift - re- think - re- work - wake up!
x x x
These meditations for Easter Week are based on the exquisite 14th century fresco cycle by Giotto di Bondone, from The Scrovegni Chapel, Padua (Italy), that so beautifully elucidate the story as it unfolds.