Rotten to the Core

Matthew 26: 14-25
Is 50:4-9/Ps 69/Mt 26:14-25

…but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.
(Mt.26:24)

May we not hide, or justify
The sins that we consider small;
Remind us, Lord, what we deny
May lead us to a greater fall.

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Mt. 26: 14-25)

In all aspects, Judas Iscariot was different from the other apostles. His origin, as indicated in his name Iscariot, set him apart from the other Apostles, who were all Galileans. This may have influenced the crooked path he chose to take, for lack of sympathy from the other apostles.

The great treachery and fall of Judas was the final outcome of a gradual failing in lesser things, like his love of money, false compassion for the poor, and stealing from the contributions. Little by little, Satan’s evil spirit corrupted his soul.

Reflection

The sight that greeted me as I was about to enter our compound seemed surreal, like the set of a disaster scene in a movie. Our iron gate was twisted, one part yanked out of its hinges under the weight of the huge firetree that had collapsed without warning, barely missing the guardhouse. Fortunately it had fallen at a time when no car or pedestrian was coming in or going out of the gate. I got out of my car to examine the cause of the tree’s collapse. Termites! The core of the base and roots had rotted, for the termites had eaten away most of the tree’s once strong foundation. The massive tree that once stood like a formidable sentinel beside our compound gate was doomed to fall, because its insides had rotted to the core.

Judas must have had some virtues that qualified him to become a member of Jesus’ tight circle. But despite being in the Lord’s company, he was never able to dissociate himself from worldly pursuits and eventually, like deadly termites, devious designs wormed in and corrupted his soul.

Great betrayals can begin from small indiscretions. If Satan cannot seduce us with major sins, he will attack and weaken our foundation with numerous little ‘venial sins’ such as ‘white lies’ and sins of omission that will eat away our core values. When a strong turbulence in our life finally comes along, we may, like Judas, fall crashing down in the sin of despair.

Let me not hide, or justify, or try to deny the sins that may be small, but may lead to bigger offenses later on. Remind me always, Lord that even the smallest sin I commit is a betrayal, and must never be entertained at all. Amen.

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