Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The tradition of the liturgical year of the Church assigns Wednesday of Holy Week as the day that Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
Dom Gueranger, the great Benedictine liturgical scholar, offers this hymn from the Greek liturgy that describes the whole incident and is a moving account of this horrible treachery.
On this day, Judas leaves his Master, and takes the devil for his guide. The love of money blinds him. He fell from the light, he became darkened: for how could he be said to see, who sold the Light for thirty pieces of silver? But to us he that suffered for the world has risen: let us thus cry out unto him: Glory be to thee, who didst endure thy Passion, and hadst compassion on mankind.
What was it, O Judas! that lead thee to betray Jesus? Had he cut thee off from the number of his apostles? Had he deprived thee of the gift of healing the sick? When he supped with his apostles did he drive thee from table? When he washed their feet, did he pass thee by? And yet thou wast unmindful of these great favours! Thy ungrateful plot has branded thee with infamy: but his incomparable patience and great mercy are everywhere praised.
Say, O ye unjust ones! what is it ye have heard from our Saviour? Did he not expound unto you the Law and the Prophets? Why therefore, have ye plotted how to deliver up to Pilate the Word that is from God, and that came to redeem our souls?
They that enjoyed thy unceasing gifts cried out: 'Let him be crucified!'These murderers of such as were innocent, sought thee, that they might treat thee, their benefactor, as an evil-doer. But thou, O Christ! didst bear their wickedness with silence; for thou, being the lover of mankind, didst desire to suffer for and save us.
We are prevented from speaking by the multitude of our sins: do thou, O Virgin-Mother of God! pray for us to him that was born of thee, for the Mother's prayer avails much with the mercy of our Lord.
Despise not O most pure Virgin! the prayers of sinners, for he that refused not even to suffer for us, is merciful, and is able to save us.
Today, as always, we have Judas' in our midst; those who, for whatever reason, betray our Lord anew. In these days of false accusations, distortions, and contempt of our dear Holy Father, Pope Benedict, let us pray that the evil one will be prevented from further harm to him, the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Saint Peter, and to Holy Church. The enemies of God, the Truth, and the Church are busy; let's get even busier by our prayer, penance and love.
Text of the Greek hymn: from Dom Gueranger, "The Liturgical Year", vol. 6, Passiontide and Holy Week, Loreto Publications.