No Price for Integrity

Holy Wednesday

Matthew 26: 14-25
Is 50: 4-9 / Ps 69: 8-10,21-22,31,33-34

…from that time on he looked for an opportunity to betray Him.
(Matthew 26:16)

The lesson in Judas’ betrayal
Should not be difficult to see;
What our country needs is renewal
And the call for integrity.

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?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to betray Him. On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and tell 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 ordered, and prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he sat at table with the Twelve; and as they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they 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.”

Reflection

They say everyone has a price. And that the scale of one’s integrity is measured only by how much a man values his name and lot in life. The tragedy of Judas was that because of his love for money, he never gave much worth to his reputation, and even much less to his exalted position as one of the select Twelve among the disciples of Jesus. We have a glimpse of the man’s nature when they were in the house of Lazarus and Mary poured a jar of expensive nard on the feet of her Master. Judas, true to his greedy nature, complained, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. As treasurer, he used to help himself to the donations (Jn.12:1-8). Perhaps it was also at this point that he finally decided to make a “career shift” when Jesus said, “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” Judas certainly didn’t want to have anything to do with the poor, and was definitely not going to be around for Jesus’ burial. But if he had to leave the group, he might as well make some money out of it. It was clearly his greed and love for money that blinded Judas, and under these circumstances, it was easy for Satan to influence him to proceed with his plan (Jn.13:27).

In our brotherhood’s campaign for honesty in our businesses and professions, and in all government agencies, we strive to drive home the point that integrity cannot be measured or bought, simply because it is priceless, and the future of our country depends on it. Every dishonesty that we commit is an act of betrayal against our Christian beliefs, and will only lead to graver sins of commission or omission. Every lie is self-perpetuating, and must therefore be nipped in the bud. We can never hope to progress as a nation until the majority of our population makes honesty the prime standard in all aspects of our lives, and see integrity as the true wealth of the people.

Disturb us, Lord in our complacency, to make us stand for the truth and fight against all forms of dishonesty in our homes, schools, workplaces and government agencies; help us to live all the Gospel values taught by Your Son, Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

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