Wednesday, 5 April 2023 : Wednesday of Holy Week (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we come ever closer to the beginning of the Easter Triduum and commemorating the most important events in the whole entire liturgical year, all of us are reminded yet again of everything that the Lord had done for each and every one of us, in all the things He had endured for our sake, the sufferings, trials and hardships that He had to face, all so that we can be saved and liberated from the tyranny and dominion of sin. He has reached out to us and touched us, offering His most generous love and mercy so that by His compassion, all of us may find the sure path and the guarantee of eternal glory with Him. God loves each one of us and He does not want to be lost from Him. This is why we commemorate this most holy and blessed of all weeks, remembering what God had done for us out of His enduring and most supreme love.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the continuation of the discourse on the suffering of the Holy Servant of God Whom He had sent into our midst, to bear the brunt of the punishments and the rejection that this One would have to face as He carried out dutifully in obedience to the will of His Heavenly Father. God has sent unto us His Son, incarnate in the flesh and born as the Son of Man, so that by His sufferings, His pains and hardships, and by the wounds and hurts, all of us have received healing and forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation with God, our loving Father and Creator. He has willingly done this because He truly loves each one of us so greatly, as our loving Shepherd, reaching out to us, His lost sheep, so that by laying down His life for us, He may raise us up to eternal life.

Then in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, which had been building up as we heard the past two days of Gospel passages from Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday. That is why this day is also known as Spy Wednesday, denoting and remembering the moment when Judas Iscariot, the traitor, went behind the back of the Lord and His disciples, to betray Him to the hands of the chief priests and all the other enemies of the Lord. He sold his own Lord and Master for a mere sum of thirty pieces of silver, which symbolically was also back then the typical price of a slave in the market. Blinded by his own greed and human desires and arrogance, Judas allowed Satan to enter into our hearts and to do what was truly abhorrent, betraying the very One Who has called Him to be His disciple and abandoning Him for the pursuit of worldly glory and temptations.

If we remember the background and the story of Judas Iscariot, such an action was truly not entirely unexpected at all, since we all have heard that Judas Iscariot had often been dishonest and whose way of thinking and beliefs were often at odds with the Lord. According to the Apostolic traditions and history, Judas Iscariot had often stolen and appropriated the common funds the Lord’s group for his own selfish use, enriching himself with the money and things that were not his own. He must indeed have been a smart and intelligent man, for having been entrusted with the group’s finances. Unfortunately, he allowed his desires for power, glory, material wealth and more to cloud his judgment and to tempt him, leading to him being misguided by Satan into committing a most great and heinous act of rebellion and sin against God, in abandoning and betraying Him for monetary gains.

Yet, as I have mentioned yesterday earlier on, it may indeed be very easy for us to point fingers at Judas Iscariot and heap all the blame and condemnation on him, for his heinous and wicked actions especially in betraying the Lord. However, the actions of Judas Iscariot should in fact be a reminder for us of our own lack of faith, vulnerabilities to sin, inability to resist the many temptations of the world, the challenges and hardships we often face in encountering various forms of temptations and persuasions, coercions and pressures from many quarters, trying to lead us down the path of disobedience and rebellion against the Lord, much as Judas Iscariot himself had done. Before we conveniently just blame Judas Iscariot for everything that happened back then, we have to realise that in our own daily living, we have often also done what Judas himself had done.

Every time we commit sins against the Lord, be it small or significant, trivial or substantial, we have in fact betrayed the Lord and abandoned Him for the sins and whatever it is that we prioritised instead of fully obeying God’s Law and commandments. That is why, the example of Judas Iscariot and everything that he had committed should be something for us to carefully reflect on as we live our lives in this world, so that we do not end up falling into the same temptations that had brought him down, and led him to commit such a terrible act. Not only that, but as we all know how Judas Iscariot then responded to his action, by killing himself in regret, instead of entrusting himself to God’s forgiveness and mercy, all of us are called to remember that each and every one of us have the capacity for repentance and reconciliation with God just as much as we have the capacity to sin against God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are about to enter very soon into the time of Easter Triduum, beginning tomorrow on Holy Thursday, let us all do whatever we can to reflect upon the things that the Lord has done to us, all the love, mercy and compassion that He has shown to all of us, so that although we are all sinners, wicked and evil in our words, actions and deeds, but through what He Himself had done for our sake, God had given us a certain path towards reconciliation with Him. That is why we should reflect on our often sinful and rebellious way of life so that we do not end up losing our way and committing the same things that Judas Iscariot had done. We are all called and reminded to focus our attention once again to the Lord, and remember everything that He had gone through for us, in His most loving embrace, and in reaching out to us through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour.

As we enter into the Easter or Paschal Triduum, let us all do whatever we can to centre our lives and focus our attention on the Lord, and grow ever stronger in our connection with Him. Let our every actions and observance of the many wondrous things happening during this Easter Triduum help us to grow ever closer to the Lord. May God bless us all and may He empower us to remain firmly ever more faithful to Him. May He help us to be ever more committed and courageous in all things, in being good role models and examples, as inspiration for each other in faith. May God bless our every good efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

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