Today, Good Friday, our Gospel speaks of Judas as “the betrayer.” None of the Gospels describe him as: Judas, the disciple, or Judas, the witness to the Miracles or Judas, companion of Jesus, or even Judas, the believer in Christ, just simply, the betrayer! How had he fallen so far? Judas made two fatal mistakes.
First, Judas did not so much lose his faith as he stopped believing in the promise. In the beginning, Judas was excited but months stretched into years and he lost his idealism. He became frustrated, angry and even bitter. Second, for Judas, Jesus was not moving fast enough. In the mind of Judas, he is the one who had been betrayed. Jesus had failed him. Jesus was the betrayer.
The story of Judas is a story of faith that fades over time, and a story of hope that deteriorates in the wake of disappointment, and a story of love that shatters in the face of hard times. Judas does not understand that the journey to salvation is not a journey to Jerusalem and power, but rather a journey to Calvary and to the cross. The Kingdom of God, which Judas longed for, was established not by power, as he had thought, but by surrender on the cross as we witness and celebrate this Good Friday.
This past year has strained and exhausted many of us. While hope is on the horizon, many of us have left a trail of cynicism, doubt, and mistrust behind us. But today we do what Judas never did, we stand at the cross! Judas never saw that love never understood such sacrifice. He stopped believing in Jesus words of hope and promise and replaced them with his own. It was those thoughts that led to his betrayal and death. Keep your focus on the cross and you will find hope even in these difficult times. Judas, the betrayer, never looked or stood by the cross and that made all the difference.