Christendom plunges into deep Lenten gloom today, Holy Wednesday, to recall the treacherous kiss of betrayal by Judas Escariot who handed Jesus to the Roman soldiers for 30 pieces of silver.
Today is also known as “Spy Wednesday” because of the sneaky move Judas used in kissing Jesus the infamous kiss which paved the way to His arrest by the authorities and ultimately led to His death on the Cross.
The priests were enraged by Jesus’ claim that He was the Son of God and charged him with blasphemy.
The priests, in their desperation to unmask Jesus, offered to pay 30 pieces of silver to any of Jesus’ 12 apostles willing to betray him.
Among the 12, only Judas Escariot fitted the betrayer’s role. Judas succumbed to the glitter of 30 pieces of silver.
In fact, Judas had already offered information that Jesus and the apostles would be together within 24 hours for the Paschal celebration, a Passover meal which was to be known as the Last Supper.
ACT OF DISLOYALTY
John the Evangelist explains today’s Gospel how Jesus revealed to His disciples an act of disloyalty by an apostle who was bribed for several pieces of silver.
Resenting the disclosure, an indignant St. Peter asked for the identity of the traitor, to which Jesus responded by saying: “The one to whom I will give the piece of bread which I will dip in a dish.”
The Master then took a piece of bread, dipped it into a dish, and gave it to Judas.
Hurriedly Judas left Jesus and the other disciples and vanished into the night.
What actually happened to Judas has been depicted in various versions, although the most acceptable variation is being reported by St. Matthew who said that Judas stricken by a deep feeling of guilt threw the 30 pieces of silver and lately committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree.
Commenting on the report of St. Matthew, St. Jerome said that Judas bought a field (a lot) out of the 30 pieces of silver. Judas later died from a fall. Both versions have been understood as a legendary sequel to a story about the greatest betrayal of all times.
Judas’ decision to leave the group is discussed by St. John as a failure to be enlightened by the promise of eternal hope which Jesus said, is the reward for repentance.
At this point, Jesus left, telling His followers that it was time for Him to part from them in fulfillment of the prophecy of his crucifixion and be alone. The apostles objected.
While the apostles protested, Simon Peter, to whom Jesus had promised to build His church, offered to take the place of Jesus.
To Peter’s suggestion, Jesus said: “Simon Peter, I will tell you most solemnly hat before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”
Within hours after Jesus was taken prisoner by the Roman soldiers, and before the cock’s crow at dawn, Simon Peter, Jesus’ chief apostle, when confronted by his Master’s accusers, had denied three times his friendship with Jesus.
He was brought before Pontius Pilate to face a plethora of false charges.
At the heat of the dispute which Pilate had to mediate was Jesus’ claim that He was the Son of God sent by his Father.
To the Jews, Jesus was guilty of the sin of sacrilege.
Pontius Pilate feared that he would be shorn from high office if he declared Jesus innocent of the charges. Thus, Pilate washed his hands of all responsibilities.
On Wednesday afternoon, following the 5:15 p.m. mass for Our Lady of Perpetual Help, will be the procession of images along the streets, depicting Biblical events which led to the crucifixion of Jesus, our Savior.
This is the last ordinary mass during the Holy Week.
At 4:45 p.m. Bishop Leonardo Medroso will officiate the Mass of the Last Supper and the Washing of Feet of the Twelve Apostles.
Bishop Medroso and the lay ministers will lead in the procession of the Blessed Sacrament inside the Cathedral.
The Last Super will be re-enacted at the Bishop’s Palace by the 12 apostles. Vigil of the Blessed Sacrament will follow in the evening until midnight.
Good Friday is the only day of the year when the holy sacrifice of the mass is omitted as church services will focus on the Passion of Our Lord.
There will be an all-morning vigil by different religious organizations which will be followed by a three-hour remote control broadcast of the via Crucis and preaching of the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ by different preachers to be carried live over dyRD-AM sponsored by the First Consolidated Bank.
At 3:30 p.m., Bishop Medroso will officiate the Passion of Our Lord, to be followed by the Veneration of the Cross.
The procession of the Holy Tomb will follow.
On Black Saturday, the Lenten gloom deepens. On this day, Christians pause to meditate on the sufferings and death of Christ. No mass is celebrated in the morning but there will be a Station of the Cross.
At 12 midnight on Saturday is the Mass of the Glorious Resurrection and the traditional “sugat,” which will be officiated with the men and women, starting from different points, converging at the Cathedral.