Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Judas Kiss

Today the Church commemorates the first Eucharist Jesus Christ celebrated with His Disciples prior to going to the Cross. As we’ve discussing this week, our Holy Week journey has been about the choice between living a life in communion with God, and living a life focused upon our desires and wants. One leads to life; the other does not.

During every Divine Liturgy we pray:
When He had come and fulfilled for our sake the entire plan of salvation, on the night in which He was delivered up, or rather when He delivered Himself up for the life of the world, He took bread in His holy, pure, and blameless hands, and, giving thanks and blessing, He hallowed and broke it, and gave it to His holy disciples and apostles, saying: Take, eat, this is My Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins. Likewise, after partaking of the supper, He took the cup, saying, Drink of this, all of you; this is My Blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.
With these words our Lord established what we now call Holy Communion, the Holy Eucharist. With these words our Lord calls us to take action to join Him in Holy Communion, but that call comes with a price. He also called His Disciples to join Him, but one of the Twelve betrayed Him. One of the Twelve chose His agenda rather than follow Christ. The betrayal of Judas was not just that he sold Jesus to the Jewish elite leaders, but that he was unable to see past his agenda to see that Christ had a different plan of salvation.

The Fathers teach that even if Adam and Eve had not disobeyed God and brought sin, and therefore death, into the world, Jesus still would have become incarnate to join humanity to the divinity of God. That much of God’s plan has always been in play. The clues to understanding this are in this prayer from the Liturgy. “Plan of salvation” “He delivered Himself up” “Giving thanks” “for the remission of sins” are all terms that reveal what God had always intended to do for humanity. So what changed?

When Adam and Eve broke the initial communion we enjoyed with God, death entered into our existence. At that point, Jesus would have to die in order to be fully human. There was only one problem; sin is the wages of death. Since Jesus never sinned, He would never have died of natural causes. He had to be killed. And that brings us to Judas.

During what is known as the Last Supper, Jesus told Judas “What you do, do quickly.” (John 13.27) Jesus allowed Judas to misunderstand the plan. When Judas betrayed Jesus to the leaders, he thought he was helping begin the revolution to defeat the Romans. Judas believed he was helping Jesus’ plan, which he was. But Jesus’ plan was not Judas’ plan.

When Judas finally realized he had the plan all wrong, he couldn’t handle his failure and killed himself. We often get God’s plan wrong too, but we are blessed that God has given us the Church and Holy Week to bring us back to Him through Holy Confession and the various ancient services of the Church. Thankfully, today we can enter the Church with faith and receive the most precious Body and Blood of Christ, and live forever. We don’t have to make the same mistakes as Judas. We don’t have to betray God with a kiss to initiate His plan. We only need to go to Church.

No comments: