by Tara K. E. Brelinsky
Listening to the Gospel on Palm Sunday, I found myself focusing on Judas’s betrayal. For 30 pieces of silver, a disciple betrayed the Son of God. For 30 lousy pieces of silver a man, who’d walked with Jesus, listened to Him preach and was a first-hand witness to Jesus’s power, turned against Christ.
That Gospel caused me to reconsider a conversation I’d had just a day earlier. A young person had excitedly shared with me that she was moving in with her boyfriend. When I enquired as to their impending wedding date (since they are engaged), she told me they were too busy working toward their degrees to set a date and plan a wedding. She informed me that her parents were happy with this arrangement, too.
So, rather than be joined in marriage, the young couple and their parents thought it was better for the couple to live outside of God’s designs for the sake of a college degree. Unfortunately, this is a common plan nowadays.
30 Pieces of Silver
Mulling this conversation over in the light of the Gospel, I thought about what 30 pieces of silver looks like today. A degree? A title and social status? A well-funded bank account? A large home? Travel? Vacations? An expensive car? A closet full of designer goods? Convenience and comfort?
And how are we willing to betray Christ to get what we want? Contraception? Abortion? Infidelity? Sex outside of marriage? Cheating employees/customers? Lying? Stealing?
Judas desired a few pieces of valuable metal over his relationship with Christ. How often do we in this modern age place greater value on material items and personal accolades than on our eternal salvation? And in addition to choosing the silver for ourselves, how often do we mislead others into believing there is nothing beyond our current moment’s happiness?
My Own Price
I admit that I have personally betrayed Christ for my own 30 pieces in the past. I have turned my back to God and His perfect plans for me in an attempt to impose my will. Sometimes I knew better and sometimes I didn’t. In either case, it is precisely why I am grateful for Holy Week. Because this week reminds me that Christ’s Passion opened the gates of reconciliation to me.
Rather than stand with the unrepentant Judas, who took his own life in despair, Holy Week invites me to follow the path of St. Peter. Indeed all year-long I am welcomed to tap into the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus continues to renew me, a sinner, every time I kneel in the confessional. Fellow IBT blogger Rob Agnelli writes about frequent confession as a ‘tonic for the Christian Soul’ in his article, “The Power of Regular Confession”.
However, walking through the days leading up to Easter, my imagination is reignited as I reflect on the daily readings and my resolve is renewed through the reception of the sacraments. The Holy Triduum is a powerful reminder of Jesus’s deep love for humanity.
What’s Your Price?
That young couple and their parents likely haven’t fully considered the cost of that hoped-for degree. At one time or another all of us have probably traded grace for earthly gain. But this week reminds us that their story and ours don’t have to end in ruin and sorrow.
Do you have a sum you’re willing to accept to betray your relationship with Jesus? If so, stop and offer yourself anew to Jesus this week. Go to confession and make amends to your life.
The price of your sins (and mine) has already been paid for (on a Cross).