Lectio: When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2 They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor. 3 When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:1-5 (NRSV)
Contemplation: “See to it yourself.”
Meditation: Judas Iscariot desperately sought absolution and forgiveness from his guilt and remorse brought about by the horrifying and irreversible consequences of his premeditated and wrongful betrayal of Jesus, an innocent man. He goes to the only place he can acquire absolution and forgiveness, the Temple. There, he pleads for absolution from the spiritual and judicial merchants of pardon – the chief priests and judges of the city. He is turned away by them and told, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”
No sacrificial act for pardon from guilt and remorse is prescribed by a priest for him to fulfill. No judgment of acquittal from the elders of the city is issued to him. He is given no human means of mercy or grace that could remove his guilt and remorse and give him the forgiveness and peace his anguishing and grieving soul sought. No amount of silver in the world could release him from his guilt and remorse. He is shunned and left in his miserable state of self-condemnation, left to himself to find his own freedom from guilt, from sin, and his overwhelming remorse. The guilt and remorse is too much for Judas to bear. His mind and soul are tenebrous, abandoned of hope. He can’t find it within himself to forgive himself or to go on with life.
I’m spiritually burdened by today’s Lectio Divina.
- I’m burdened for all the people inwardly burdened by hidden emotional and spiritual pain.
- I’m burdened for all the people living with wrenching, unresolved guilt, endlessly carrying profound emotional pain because they have either not done something they should have done or they failed to do something they should have.
- I’m burdened for all the people living with ceaseless and tormenting sorrowful remorse for the harm they have caused to someone and to others.
- I’m burdened for all the people that believe God has given up on them.
- I’m burdened and pray today for God’s grace to shine upon all the people who believe their lives are not worth living.
- I’m burdened for all the people, that will not or cannot turn to God for forgiveness, and who believe they “can see to it themselves” to find the peace for which they desperately search for but cannot find apart from God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Prayer: I pray for the grace to be a humble conduit for God’s powerful and transformative means of grace offered to a burdened world in desparate need of God’s forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, and freedom from condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).