today's readings are Isaiah 50: 4-9a; Psalm 69; and Mt. 26: 14 -26
Spy Wednesday, you may ask? The first time I heard this term was almost 25 years ago when Deacon John Greive, who was (and still is) the Deacon at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Scarborough wished me a happy Spy Wednesday. Deacon John explained the origins of the name, which goes back many centuries to mark the day that Judas Iscariot would come to an agreement with the Jewish Chief Priests to betray Jesus. Hence, from that point Judas would "spy" on Jesus looking for the opportune time and place to betray Him, which turned out late the following evening at the Garden of Gethsemane.
Spy Wednesday - the name sounds suitably haunting and devious. And it certainly was a devious act that Judas carried out in today's gospel.
One thing we don't know for sure is exactly why Judas betrayed Jesus - maybe for greed, maybe out of fear for what would happen to the Israelites by the Romans if Jesus carried out His ministry further. There is much speculation about this. But the important point is he betrayed Him.
While we may not rather think about it, we too can betray Jesus. Now, not to the extent that Judas did, but still, we can betray Him - and for that matter ourselves. It happens in our sinfulness - when make a decision and carry out an action that goes against what our faith teaches, what our Saviour asks of us. And when that happens, we diminish ourselves as well.
So before we get too ready to throw those proverbial stones at Judas, we need to consider our own sinfulness. And as we do, then with much thankfulness we can consider the saving actions of Jesus. and then we say, "What a friend we have in Jesus!"
Tomorrow we begin the 3 Great Days, the Holy Triduum. Let's commit ourselves to remember, to commemorate, and celebrate the saving actions of our friend, our Saviour, Jesus.