I am Judas

Judas walked with Christ for years. He was as close as a brother, and he loved Jesus.

Can you imagine? They walked hundreds of miles together in the quiet countryside. They ate, slept, and worked together. Most days were probably filled with laughter and joking, during days of work to do what Jesus asked them — to bring people to understand the law and realize that God is Love. And Judas was there, in the midst of it all, the whole time. He was a comrade, a friend, and a brother. He worked just as hard as the next, faltering no more than the rest.

When I imagine what Judas was really like, he always has a few qualities that seem pretty typical of moody adolescents. I imagine him being pretty stubborn, and struggling to let go of what he had been taught, how he understood, and what he knew from experience. He probably maintained a very critical view of the world — even when learning at the feet of Jesus, he was apt to over-analyze and challenge everything. He wasn’t unintelligent or apathetic. He left everything to follow this man. Surely there was a reason? A GOOD reason?

Judas, understandably, got impatient. The days had turned to weeks, the weeks to months, and the months to years. Jesus kept talking about how he was fulfilling the prophecies, but nothing was happening. How Judas waited for the day when the Teacher would overthrow everything and claim it for his own! Then, Jesus started sharing a new understanding of what those prophets meant. He was to die a horrific death, without doing anything to deserve it. He wasn’t going to be the rebel, the revolutionary… he would do nothing wrong. Still, he would be murdered, his followers would scatter, and all would be okay because he was the “Son of God.”

Peter was the one that believed without question. Judas was not. They were both searching for the Truth, but one was more likely to be open to it than the other. I can hear Judas asking one of his brother disciples in a hushed whisper, “Do you think he REALLY is of God? Is he not just a great teacher? That’s enough for me!”

While reflecting on his role in the story of salvation this past week, my heart broke for Judas. What misery he brought upon himself! If the heart of God breaks at the loss of a soul, Judas was no less than any other. But how could he manage to go that far? Why did he never call Jesus, “Lord”? How was one of the original brotherhood lost?Read More »

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Chrism Mass

Still, I am nearly speechless and in awe.

I attended the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral Basilica here at my home diocese, for the first time. It was absolutely beautiful.

Without saying too much (still guarding my heart as the Triduum approaches), I didn’t really expect to feel much at all during the Mass. I wanted to go, I had promised myself and God that as part of my Lenten journey that I would, and the Cathedral is one of my favorite places in Beaumont. However, Lent has been pretty dry and difficult, and I didn’t expect it to bear fruit so soon!Read More »

Palm Sunday

Last summer, I really fell in love with the word, “Hosanna.” There is something so beautiful about a word that can proclaim so simply an adulation that is so profound. Reserved for a king — THE King and the Master! We would be in the chapel, praying and singing, and that was the only word I wanted to sing. Even still, in adoration, if I could cry out, “Hosanna!!!” my heart would be happy. Somehow, a whisper seems to make do… I always imagine the Lord to know how I desire to act, even when it’s not really appropriate.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been anticipating Palm Sunday for MONTHS. I was so antsy in the church, ready to go out and come back in, to hold my palm and sing Hosanna, to follow the Cross back in, and celebrate. As a Catholic and an artist, I treasure symbolism and deeper meaning. I love the idea of a palm branch being representative of something that reaches up and out, or thinking about how it was used to fan royalty as they reclined. Then, I learned from Matt Maher’s reflection on Palm Sunday that palms were symbols of rebellion.

A word and a symbol, and even still, they didn’t truly understand. I hope I am able to learn to hail the Lord as a King, not a rebellious leader. That I will adore Him because He loves more than anyone I have ever encountered, not because He has the power to perform great signs. I want to follow Him because He desires for me to be with Him, not because I want to see His victorious conquest over those with whom I disagree.

But when I DO see His victory — as we all will, this week — I pray that I remember that He is greater than anything I could ever imagine, His plans far exceed anything I could dream, and His victory means more than I will ever understand.