It’s Wednesday of Holy Week. What are we supposed to be doing again?
In the old times but still presently active in the Eastern Church, today was celebrated as “Spy Wednesday” or the “Holy and Great Wednesday” in the Eastern Church. But what exactly is “Spy Wednesday” and what do we do on this day?
The answer is found in today’s Gospel reading. In Matthew 26:14-25, the narrative describes Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. The broken apostle has now committed himself to deceiving his master for thirty pieces of silver. That is how much the King of Creation is worth to him. At the same time, Jesus, being fully aware of what is going on (since He is all-knowing) continues to entertain Judas. Jesus makes a revelation during the Passover dinner, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” All of the disciples in the room begin to freak out, except one. This one, who intimately dipped his hand into the dish with Jesus, knew exactly who he was at that moment. He knew the deception that he was to partake of. He knew the betrayal he was to impart on the One who loves him regardless. How could he have done this? This act of deceit and betrayal by Judas to Jesus is the reason why this day is called “Spy Wednesday”.
Here’s the question for all of us.
We have all betrayed Jesus. We have lied to Him. We have cheated Him. We even may have sold Him to the highest bidder. All of us, through our sins (be it great or small), have been a Judas. We have all been “Spies”.
Jesus knows this, and the amazing grace is that He forgives us AND calls us back to Him. The most important take away and lesson that can be learned in the narrative of today’s Gospel is not the evil that was committed. It is the reality that Jesus forgives us for our sins, calls us back to Him, and calls us on to be better. We have all fallen, but we cannot remain on the ground. We must confess and ask forgiveness from Jesus; be forgiven; get back up and continue on.
Recall the times we have recently betrayed and been spies to Jesus. If necessary, make arrangements for confession before we enter into the Triduum.
Resolve never to commit these sins again.
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.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”