Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. – Mark 14:43-46
The scene in the garden continues to unfold, as hundreds of armed men come to arrest Jesus. Jesus has been with them daily in the public square and synagogue, they could have taken him at any time. Yet, here they come in the cover of darkness to conceal their shame and guilt. Judas, one of the twelve, who has been with Jesus every day for the past three years now betrays him. Judas one of the trusted few and member of the inner circle with a single kiss sets into action the events that would ultimately lead to Jesus’ death on the cross.
We have all, to some degree, experienced betrayal in our lives. When we are betrayed or feel betrayed by someone we love (spouse, loved ones, close friends) it is gut wrenching. This can lead to animosity, broken relationships, and estrangement. It causes brothers and sisters to not speak, spouses to separate or divorce, and the best of friends to become the worst of enemies. We become so overcome by what has been done to us that our hearts become like stone and hatred fills us.
But what is Jesus example? In Luke’s gospel we read that one of his disciples “struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, “Stop, no more of this!” Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:50-51) Jesus does not resist, he does not condemn rather he continued to display great love even for those who mean to do him harm.
There will be many times in our lives when we will be rejected or betrayed. This is especially true if you try to live a Christian life, embracing the teachings of Christ and his Church. How will you respond? Will you be like the disciple and draw your sword? Causing further hurt in an already hurtful situation. Or will you take Jesus’ example and “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you?” (Matthew 5:44)
Is there someone you need to forgive for a past betrayal? Is there someone you have betrayed that you need to seek forgiveness from? Reach out to these people today, don’t wait it’s been long enough. With a sincere heart grant mercy and forgiveness to whom it is required. With humility and a contrite heart ask for forgiveness from those you have hurt.