Our opinions are prejudiced by what we know. We know that Christ is truly the Son of God; we know that Christ was crucified and rose from the dead. We know that the only path to salvation is Jesus Christ. We know these things, and they color the way we think.
Judas, however, did not know these things… not in the sure and certain sense that we know them. Judas doubted. He questioned. He was tempted away from the truth and into falsehood — and a terrible falsehood at that. Christ tells us that it would have been better for Judas if he had never been born.
Now — 2000 years later — no one names his son Judas. The name Judas is synonymous with “betrayer.” To call someone a Judas is to state that that person cannot be trusted. He’s a backstabber. Underhanded. Dishonest. Today — Wednesday of Holy Week — is known traditionally as Spy Wednesday in commemoration of Judas selling out Our Lord.
Selling out Our Lord. Those words should send chills down your spine. With 2000 years of Christian witness informing us that Jesus is Lord, no one wants to be a Judas. But remember: Judas had been one of the Twelve… one of Christ’s closest followers. Before he turned from the path of Truth, Judas was a part of Our Lord’s inner circle of disciples.
This should serve as a warning to all of us. We should not assume that the path we are on now is the one we will always follow. We should not assume that we will never stray. The same forces that tempted Judas are at work on us. We must be diligent in resisting those temptations.
Let us pray always for the grace to remain Christ’s true disciples, for the difference between disciple and betrayer can be as little as one single sin. Thankfully, Christ offers us His forgiveness… and if we do find ourselves straying from the path, we must never despair of Christ’s mercy.
Judas despaired of Christ’s mercy; this was his true betrayal, for this is the one betrayal that it is impossible for Christ to forgive. In order to be forgiven, we must ask for it. So let us never forget that Crist’s mercy knows no bounds and that to be forgiven, we need only to return to Our Lord and trust completely in His love.