Judas’ betrayal looms large in the beginning of the story of Jesus’ passion and death. In fact, the whole story is set in motion when Judas goes to the authorities and arranges to hand Jesus over.
Then in today’s Gospel, we see Jesus predicting that one of his disciples will betray him—just before he offers them his Body and Blood. But notice how the spotlight is not so much on Judas’ treachery as on Jesus’ kindness and mercy. He knows what Judas will do, but he doesn’t expose him or utter words of condemnation. He just gives a vague “You have said so” to Judas’ question: “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” (Matthew 26:25). It seems that until the very end, Jesus held out hope that Judas would repent.
That’s how Jesus treats you too. He has no interest in shaming you when you fall into sin, and he certainly doesn’t want to condemn you. He wants to forgive and heal you. He wants to restore your dignity as a child of God. But he will never force you to do anything, including repent. God created you with free will, and so Jesus will always wait for you to freely choose to acknowledge your sin, to receive his absolution, and to be reconciled to himself.
In these last few days of Lent, why not seek his forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Ask yourself a few simple questions:
• Am I hiding any thoughts or deeds from the Lord?
• Am I denying my responsibility for any wrongs done to myself or others?
• Is my heart not fully open to the Lord in any area?
Bring your answers to the confessional. It’s not too late! Just confess, and Jesus will show you the way forward from there.
Jesus is never too preoccupied—or too offended or too hurt by your weaknesses or failures—to forgive you. He has no intention of retaliating by subjecting you to shame or rejection. Acknowledge your sin and let him welcome you back with open arms. Confess your misdeeds and let him show you new ways to think and act. He waits to shower you with his forgiveness and kindness.
“Jesus, surely it is I who have sinned against you. Forgive me and show me the way forward today.”
O God, by whose wondrous grace we are enriched with every blessing, grant us so to pass from former ways to newness of life, that we may be made ready for the glory of the heavenly Kingdom.