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  • Writer's pictureKeith Jiron

Holy Week: Spy Wednesday

spy

The Wednesday of Holy Week is sometimes referred to as Spy Wednesday. This term for the Wednesday preceding Good Friday comes from the Scripture passage that reads: “Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” (Mt 26:14-16) So, in a very real sense, we can say that Judas served as a spy for the Sanhedrin who were looking for an opportunity to condemn Jesus.


Judas’s betrayal was foretold by Jesus in the conversation at the Last Supper when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (Jn 13:21) Simon, who inquired further about the impending betrayal asks John, the beloved disciple, to inquire who would be the betrayer. (Jn 13:25) Jesus responds, “‘It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it.’ So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly’” (Jn 13:26-27).


betrayal

As we ponder this gospel event on Spy Wednesday of Holy week, let us consider how it applies to us today. Rather than asking how Judas, an apostle and one of Jesus’ closest associates, could have committed such a betrayal, perhaps a more appropriate question should be directed at ourselves. In what ways do I doubt Jesus’ word and action in my life and thus turn away, indulging in my own selfish worldly pursuits? In what ways do I participate in causing Jesus the pain of abandonment and hurt because of my sins?


Another possible consideration when reflecting on Judas’ betrayal could be the incredible ways in which God’s providence plays out in spite of horrible things. A Scripture passage which bespeaks this reality states, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him…” (Rom 8:28) … in everything, even that which is bad… Perhaps another way of stating this is that “God can write straight on crooked lines.” This is a great mystery to ponder in the workings of God.


Jesus is clear when he says, “I lay down my own life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (Jn 10:18) However, in a sense, Judas’ betrayal served to bring about God’s plan of Jesus’ passion and death on the Cross. It is on the Cross that Jesus saves us. And, three days later, Jesus’ resurrection shows God’s power over death and also gives us hope of eternal life.


As we ponder the great mysteries of Holy Week, may we be mindful of the consequences of our sins. However, let our meditation not end there, but rather in the hope of God’s great act of love which conquers sin and death.

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