Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spy Wednesday and despair...and Mary

Traditionally today, the Wednesday before Easter, is called "Spy Wednesday," recalling that today Judas Iscariot sold out his Friend...the One he truly believed was his Savior.

At the Office of Tenebrae service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, I reflected on many things. From the opening—"God, come to my assistance!"—through the nocturns of vigils, the Lamentations, through the homily, intercessions, and the terrible, wonderful, horrifying Strepitus, I wondered at how many times I've sold out my Savior this year.

And I thought, too, about how much I had in common with the apostle Judas.

Despair is an ugly thing invented by Satan.

Last Sunday I lost my temper. I'd just confessed to exactly the same sin some two or three days earlier. While knowing that the Sacrament of Reconciliation would be offered that evening during a Holy Hour, my initial inclination was to bag it. "I'll only commit this sin again and again and again," I remember thinking.

God intervened my erroneous thinking...or maybe it was Mary.

In any case, while facing the monstrance with the tiny round wafer in which Jesus disguised Himself, I found myself moving, almost against my will at first, to the priest in the confessional. Once again, I was saved from myself.

At a Passion Play in Germany, many years ago...

Father Greg Staab, visiting priest at Saint Francis Chapel, related a story earlier today. It seems that, when the actor playing Judas was about to hang himself, a little girl cried out:

"Why doesn't he go to Mary???? He should go to Mary!!!"


Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is a movie I've seen only once but most of the lines are etched in my memory. One now particularly stands out in my mind. Peter, a wreck after denying Jesus, runs to Mary and says "I've denied Him, Mother!" And that confession to the Mother of God led him to seek mercy and salvation from Him Who is Mercy.

There is still time to seek reconciliation before Easter. I beg you, if you are in need of it, to repent and confess. There is no sin—no matter what the father of lies tries to tell you—that Jesus will not forgive.

Don't take my word for it...ask His Mother, and ours.

May you be blessed abundantly this Holy Week and always.

Lord, have mercy on us.