What was it that motivated Judas to betray Jesus? Was he trying to force Jesus to display his divine powers against his enemies? Maybe he was resentful that he hadn’t been chosen as leader of the apostles. Or perhaps he was simply malicious and greedy. We just don’t know.
What we do know is that, when all was said and done, Judas was overwhelmed by bitter regret. He tried to return his blood money, and ended his life in suicide.
Suicide is always a tragedy. But the greater tragedy here is that Judas had lost hope. In his despair, Judas lost hope in receiving mercy from the one whose entire life conveyed hope and mercy. We can say with absolute confidence that if Judas has run to the foot of the cross and begged forgiveness, he would have received it.
In a way, Judas represents the state of many people today- people who live lives of quiet despair, shame, and fear, because they believe themselves to be unlovable and unforgivable in the eyes of God.
But such fear is a self-inflicted wound. The good news of Holy Week is that no one need despair of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Not Judas Iscariot. Not you or me.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/042011.shtml