Key verse: Matthew 27:5 Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
Reflection: Suicide is horrible and horrific. When someone kills herself, whether impulsively or after careful thought, family and friends are left with unanswered questions, unresolved guilt, and unimaginable anger. Suicide seems like the best solution inside a tortured mind that can’t see any other way forward, but it isn’t best. Asking for help, voicing the thought, and confessing the plan takes tremendous courage.
The disciple Judas betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and to the Roman authorities in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. According to the gospel of Matthew, Judas regretted his action after Jesus was condemned to death. Judas tried to return the money to the chief priests but they didn’t accept his repentance. Then Judas went and hanged himself.
In her essay, Waiting for Judas, Madeleine L’Engle shares an old legend: “After his death, Judas found himself at a bottom of a slimy pit. For thousands of years, he wept in repentance and when his tears were spent, he looked up and saw, way, way up, a tiny glimmer of light! After reflecting upon this little shaft of light for another thousand years, Judas began to climb toward it. Because the walls of the pit were wet and slimy, he slipped back again and again. After many more tears and many more tries, Judas managed to drag himself out of the pit! Suddenly he found himself in an upper room with 12 people seated around a table. ‘We have been waiting for you, Judas,’ said Jesus, ‘We couldn’t begin until you came!‘”
Prayer: O God, for all those whose thoughts are clouded, whose paths are convoluted, and whose hearts are broken, we pray. Give us courage when we need to offer help, and give us courage when we need to ask for help. Remind us of your abundant forgiveness that includes every single one of us at your table. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].