REJECTING EMPTY PROMISES

Wednesday of Holy Week

            One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?”” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

            The desire for money can be a powerful incentive to betray Jesus. It seems that Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is based on his desire for money. Surely, Judas has some level of faith in Jesus – or else he would not have become his disciple. But even if Judas does have some level of faith, his desire for money appears to overshadow the faith he may have in the Lord.

            One very important lesson we must learn from this is that the desire for money is an overly strong influence for the decisions and choices we make. In fact, it can become a consuming desire and it can distort and twist our priorities. Spiritual masters tell us that the path to holiness consists, first, in a purification of all our disordered affections. And since one of the most powerful attachments that many of us struggle with is an attachment to money, this is an important desire to purify in all of our lives.

            It is true that material wealth and possessions are not evil when they are used for the fulfillment of God’s will. But the desire for more, the drive for an excess, will always cloud or obscure our ability to see clearly the will of God and live for his glory alone. 

            The consequence of betraying Jesus grieved Judas deeply. He learned that choosing sin ends with an empty promise. He realized that thirty pieces of silver was not worth the value of his soul. But of course, even then Judas could have repented and received the mercy of God. But he did not. He simply ended his life in ultimate despair.

            As a point of self-examination this Holy Week, let me ask: What is it in your life that you desire more than our Lord? What temptation clouds your thinking and leads you to choices that you know will end in emptiness? Strive to eradicate every disordered desire within you and choose wisely the will of God instead. Do not let yourself continue to believe the lies that keep you from making the Lord and his will the one and only focus of your life.

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