One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
Betrayal is a reality that we will all experience, at one time or another, or in one form or another: as betrayed or traitor.
Betrayal shocks! It leaves the victim crippled. Barely able to stand, barely able to breathe!
To be betrayed by someone close to you is the worst feeling in the world. It happens all the time, especially to people who are in very high places and by people who have nothing to lose.
Why do we betray others? Like always, because of our pride (thinking we know better. Wanting the upper hand), vanity (fear of being forgotten, unrewarded, cast away), sensuality (fear of reprisal, of death - cowardice).
All are affected by betrayal: friends, family, men, women and children. All are capable of betrayal: husbands, wives, parents, children, politicians, soldiers, friends, professionals, religious, priests, apostles.
What are you willing to give to me? How often do I sell my Lord for something as cheap as sin?
Sin is cheap. And as with any counterfeit to life, it is sufficient for getting through the day. Now compared to grace, sin is bought at a very low price, thirty pieces of silver, while Grace is bought with blood, sweat and tears. There is a human price to be paid. But with sin, humans are bought! God’s Grace is purchased with His flesh and blood. With sin, His flesh and blood are sold for dirt cheap.
Lord, what are you willing to give to me? Why didn’t Judas ask Him this question? He could have. He ate and lived with Him. The Lord would have told him the truth: “Everything I have, I give to you.” But this treasure comes with a condition: the Law of Love.
Love requires sacrifice. Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for others? Love requires truth. Are you willing to speak the truth out of love for others? Love requires justice. Are you willing to give your fair share to others? Love requires obedience. Are you willing to pick up your cross and imitate me?
With sin, with betrayal, there is no law. It is a mindless and selfish game of cat and mouse, where the little guy always gets brutally hurt. Actually, it is a “free-for-all.” Or better yet, it is a “free-fall”. Everyone ends up getting hurt (Judas, Jesus, the Chosen People, the Romans, etc).
Even the temple gets destroyed beyond repair!
We betray because we sin. And we sin because are enticed. There is always an apple hanging low from the tree. There’s always a carrot that is placed in front of us to make us move. Thirty pieces of silver is all it took for Judas, and “from that moment on he looked for an opportunity.”
Sin has many consequences, some unseen for years. Sin destroys innocence, it destroys the relationship between God and man, it sucks the life out of life, and it causes life to come to an abrupt end. For these reasons alone, the Lord was correct to say: “it would be far better for that man if he had never been born.”
The betrayal of God (and all that is of God) is a distortion of authentic love. It typically begins with an idea in one’s head and a carrot in front of one’s face and ends with the brutal beating and death of all that is good, holy and right.
Resolution: Self-denial, self-giving, self-emptying. The only way to conquer evil is through love.