Thought for the Day – 1 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Betrayal of Judas
“Ingratitude is a very cruel thing.
It imprints a deep wound on the human heart and the heart of Jesus, was infinitely more sensitive than ours.
He had raised Judas to the high rank of the Apostolate; He had made him one of His closest friends and had entrusted him with the secrets of His infinite love.
Now Judas betrays Him for the wretched sum of thirty pieces of silver.
Worse is to follow, however.
While Jesus is praying and perspiring blood at the thought of the ingratitude of men and of the nearness of His passion and death, the Garden of Gethsemane becomes suddenly aglow with torches and reverberates with the shouting of the hired ruffians, whom Judas has brought with him to arrest Jesus.
The treacherous Apostle comes forward.
He embraces our divine Redeemer, hails Him as his Master and greets Him with a sacrilegious kiss upon the cheek.
Jesus neither repulses nor rebukes him but, with a gesture of infinite mercy, He addresses him as a friend.
“Friend,” He says, “for what purpose hast thou come?” (Mt 26:50).
“Dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Lk 22:28).
If only Judas could have heeded this last appeal and begged for forgiveness at Jesus’ feet with tears of repentance!
Jesus would certainly have taken him to His heart and returned his kiss with a kiss of pardon and divine friendship.
Perhaps, we have also stood at times on the brink of sin and have been aware of a higher appeal to go back!
But, have we heeded it?
If ever we are in danger again, let us listen to this quiet voice which speaks to our conscience.
Let us fall on our knees before Jesus and earnestly implore Him: “Be not silent, Lord, be not far from me!” (Ps 34:22).
Let us ask Him to have pity on our weakness and to come to our assistance.”