Maybe in a way that you’ve never considered seriously before today. We easily say, "Jesus died for my sins… for our sins… for the sins of the world…" But we aren't so hasty to make the movement to identifying ourselves with Judas, are we? Be honest: when was the last time you compared yourself to Judas? No not me! After all, he betrayed Jesus!
This year, we read from "cycle C," St. Luke's gospel (Lk 22:14--23:56). Jesus asks Judas, who is leading the crowd that came to arrest him: "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" The kiss of greeting between friends was a normal custom in that culture. The omission of a kiss, in fact, was considered an insult (Lk 7:45). However, the kiss of an enemy is treacherous (cf. Prov. 27:6b) and can be deadly (cf. 2 Sam 20:9). This particular kiss from Judas proved to be very deadly.
Have you ever really considered that it was your own sins that caused the death of Jesus? Are you any less guilty than Judas, for the death of Jesus? What is it that makes you think that your sins do not make you an enemy of Jesus? Admitting our guilt, we beg mercy from Jesus, knowing that he is merciful to those with a sincere heart. This is the year of Mercy which makes our plea much more meaningful.
We must avoid the sins against Hope -- namely, despair and presumption. Judas "despaired" - he ceased to hope for forgiveness from God, and killed himself (Mt 27:5). Despair is contrary to God's goodness and justice. On the other hand, we must also avoid "presuming" that God will forgive us, without a conversion of our heart. Today starts the holiest week in our entire Christian tradition. So, today, let us turn to God with a truly sincere and trusting heart; acknowledge our sins; and asking for his mercy! .