It Wasn't the Jews.


Judas is so foolish…We say.

How could you be so ignorant to even consider selling Jesus for thirty pieces of silver? I mean at least throw in a camel or two in there? Maybe a shrubbery?

Lately, as I’ve been looking at the crucifix in my Church, all I can perceive is a poorly made piece of wooden art. All I can think about is who back in 1978 thought this was a worthy depiction of the highest moment of Christianity. I look around and think. “These Church people are just as bland as that dull, clean crucifix.”

Whoa Alan. Wait you can’t say that, you shouldn’t say that.

Gosh, what’s happened to me?

I reflect more honestly, “I wish I was engaged by my faith again, I wish I wasn’t so indifferent to Holy Week.” Has this become the pinnacle of my devotion? Dressing up, kneeling, and patiently enduring long looong services-- all for a wooden stick figure?  

Then the Church’s liturgy hit me, square on, right in the middle of my big Spanish eyebrows during daily mass yesterday.

One of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priest and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?
— Matthew 26: 15

Allow yourself to hear those words again being spoken by Judas for the first time, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”

We’re not sure how but the thought is always before us during Holy Week.  “My sins put Jesus to die on the cross. Protestants seem to be pretty adamant about it, and so are my grandparents so it must be true somehow.”

It wasn’t until hearing those words spoken by Judas that I realized the pain-staking reality that I partook in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Judas said the exact same thoughts I think when negotiating with the devil if I am going to give myself over to sin.

“What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”

Are you willing to give me a few clicks here and there to those websites on the internet, if I hand him over to you?

Are you willing to give me the destruction of this person’s reputation, if I hand him over to you?

Are you willing to let me have that one more drink to get me there, if I hand him over?

In other words, will you give me something that can substitute my temporary restlessness, if I discard of this man who has given himself over to me infinitely?

We’ve all done this. We’ve all sold away the presence of Christ for something we crave more.

It isn’t until the moment after we’ve sinned that we realize how empty we are when we’ve sold out Christ. When we’ve handed him over and away. This is why mortal sin can be so detrimental to our lives, we literally sell the presence of Christ away so that we can be left to self-medicate ourselves through our vices. We are responsible for a silenced Jesus being sealed away from us in the tomb.

We put him there.

I put him there.

In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.” Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone:
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, 598

Suddenly, the crucifix takes on flesh. Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned against you! Am I as foolish as Judas? What have I done…?

Here his sacrifice touches my soul and I can enter Holy Thursday.

Holy Week isn’t a guilt trip, it’s a field trip.

We are all called to look upon the Cross this week and live our part of the story. Judas looked and he despaired. Peter looked and repented. In as much as we took responsibility in his crucifixion, we also partake in his mercy. As Jesus uttered to St. Faustina in his message of Divine Mercy, “The greater the sinner, the greater his right to my mercy.” This Holy Week we are called to Calvary to experience the personal effect of our sins, but also to experience the personal effect of receiving his mercy.

What gives us access to the cross, isn’t our baptism or our catechesis classes, but rather it’s those times we handed Jesus over. Your sins associate you to his Cross, and it will be His “stripes” that unite you to his Resurrection.

For a thorough Triduum may we enter into the Passion this week not as spectators, but as instigators to these three holy days.