On Holy and Great Wednesday, we commemorate the betrayal of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. During last night’s Bridegroom Matins, we sang a hymn that poetically places two options in front of us. The place of Judas who betrayed Christ, or the sinful harlot. At first we might say, neither betrayer nor harlot, but life isn’t about who we are today. Life is about what choice we make to become who God desires us to become.
In the hymn (read the entire hymn below) last night we discovered the sinful woman repented and anointed our Lord with very costly ointment. The image in front of us allows us to imagine she is anointing Christ, while at the same time, Judas is selling him for a few pieces of silver. The hymn, almost crying out, says, “How dreadful was his rashness! How great was her repentance!”
Every day we are faced with the same dilemma. Do we betray the Lord, or do we repent from our sinfulness? As we have gathered each night during Holy Week waiting for God, the Church invites us to be continually preparing our soul to meet Him. If we think we are ready, we are not. While we might not be prostitutes, we are sinners in need of repentance. This beautiful hymn is a GREAT reminder that we all need repentance.
By the time Judas realized his sin, it was too late. His was so riddled with guilt, he was unable to gather enough courage to repent and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. For the rest of us, it isn’t too late until it is, and this week is just the perfect time to start fresh with a life of repentance. It’s better than betrayal.
When the sinful woman offered the fragrant oil, then the disciple made his agreement with the transgressors of the Law. She rejoiced in pouring out the costly oil, and he lost no time in selling off the priceless One. She acknowledged the Master, and he was becoming estranged from the Master. She was emancipated, while Judas became a slave of the enemy. How dreadful was his rashness! How great was her repentance! Grant me this repentance, O Savior who suffered for us, and save us. (Translation by AGES Initiative)