“After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.”
Three very simple words express a most dramatic, foundational shift in the life of the gospels, and even more important, cause an extreme shift in the liveliness of holiness versus evil. Judas Iscariot can’t be still with this reality: in the face of the struggle, Judas must move. The problem is: Judas moves not toward virtue and holiness, but rather, he runs toward the wickedness of his temptation, toward betrayal. If only he had finally allowed the life and message of the Lord Jesus to overwhelm his temptation, the story would have been dramatically different.
But we know the story all too well, don’t we? It’s not just Judas, in the end, who entertains and subsequently succumbs to evil’s lure…it’s all of us as well. Why is it that I do the things I dread, while avoiding the things of goodness? All of this points to the actual lived reality of evil around us. Yes it is powerful, yes it entices, it attracts. But we also see how virtue rewards and holiness blesses. And we are so often torn between the two, aren’t we?
Within Holy Week, we come face to face with this struggle as it engulfs the Lord Jesus. Let us pray today, seeking to shun the enticements of evil; let us freely choose, instead, to allow ourselves to be drawn more and more into the embrace of holiness, into the warmth of virtue, into the arms of the One who stretches them so completely as to invite and caress all of creation.