SECOND WEEK OF LENT: SATURDAY
The Despair and Death of Judas
The Despair and Death of Judas
1st Prelude. Look at Judas throwing down the thirty shekels of silver before the chief priests.
2nd Prelude. Beg the grace of never giving way to temptations of despair or despondency.
POINT I. "Then Judas, who had betrayed Him, seeing that He was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients."
CONSIDERATION. When Judas agreed to betray his Divine Master for thirty pieces of silver, he expected that, being God as well as Man, He would deliver Himself from the hands of His enemies, as he had often done before; but finding that his avaricious plan was defeated, and that Jesus gave Himself up and was about to suffer death, he was overwhelmed with horror at the thought of his crime, and of the eternal shame that would rest on him. The much-coveted money pressed on his conscience with a crushing weight; and cursing it from his heart, he took it back to the chief priests who had given it to him.
APPLICATION. Such is the ordinary result of sin. Before we commit it, we only see the pleasant side, and we are blind to its consequences; but as soon as the harm is done, there come remorse and shame; then we are horrified at our folly, and instead of enjoyment, we find it has brought us nothing but misery and regret. And this is equally true of lesser sins. What does our past experience teach us on this point?
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS
POINT II. "Saying, I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said, What is that to us? Look thou to that."
CONSIDERATION. When Judas went to confess his sin to the chief priests, a sin to which they themselves had tempted him, he hoped they would be able to comfort him, or at least interest themselves in the matter; but he received no other reply than the scornful words, "What is that to us? Look thou to that"; and when he heard it, the measure of his despair was filled up.
APPLICATION. Never let us reckon on assistance or sympathy, or even esteem, from those whom we have served against our own conscience and the law of God. Outwardly, perhaps, they will praise or flatter us, but in their secret hearts they will condemn us for our weak and cowardly consent to what we know to be wrong.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. "And casting down the pieces of silver in the Temple, he departed, and went and hanged himself."
CONSIDERATION. The terrible despair of Judas was the greatest of all his sins. His conviction that his crime was unpardonable was a virtual disbelief in God, who is infinite in all His attributes. The laws of men, which must be finite, cannot exceed the infinite goodness of God. If he, like St. Peter, had thrown himself, humbled and contrite, at the feet of Jesus, he would also have been pardoned.
APPLICATION. We are all human, all liable to fall, and to fall very low. But if we unhappily commit sin, let us at once drive away all thoughts of despair, and imitate the humble repentance of St. Peter, trusting, as he did, in the omnipotent mercy of God. then we shall share the glories of Heaven with the penitents who have become saints; and, to strengthen our resolution, let us often say, with holy King David: "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded." And in times of temptation, let us remember those beautiful words of St. Augustine: "If you feel afraid of God, throw yourself into His bosom."
COLLOQUY with our Father in Heaven.