“Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’” (Jn 13,21)
So begins the gospel for Tuesday of Holy Week. With these words, we have to be wary of the constant danger of treachery. That possibility is always around. If it happened to Christ, it can happen to us anytime. In fact, we can be our own traitors. We can also be traitors to others. The others can also turn us in. That’s just how it is.
It’s not to be cynical about our human condition here on earth that is prone to this danger. Rather, we just have to be realistic, and do the necessary things we need to avoid treachery, whether self-inflicted or inflicted by others.
Let’s always remember that our human condition here on earth where we are always engaged in the constant battle between good and evil, between grace and our weaknesses and temptations around, can always make this possibility of betrayal and treachery to happen. We should keep this fact of life in mind always.
When we are not true to our word and to our commitments, renewing and strengthening our fidelity to them from time to time, or when we do not correct our mistakes and sins as soon as we can, or when we are not sincere and transparent, we would actually be giving an opening for such possibility to happen. If we are not careful, the slide to betrayal can come quietly and surely.
We have to be most guarded against this possibility and try to nip in the bud whatever slight traces of its symptoms come to our awareness. This is also true in our duty to take care of others who can also succumb to such possibility. Once we notice the symptoms in others, we should already start thinking, praying and devising some strategy to help them.
In this regard, we can never overemphasize the need to be constantly vigilant in our responsibility over our own spiritual lives and those of the others. When we notice the onset of complacency and spiritual lukewarmness whose signs can easily be detected, we should already be amply warned and start to do something about it.
When we notice certain inconsistencies between the expressed intentions and words, on one hand, and deeds, on the other, we should already consider them as ample warnings.
Truth is all of us have the duty to take care of everyone else, especially those who are close to us. And one concrete way to carry out this duty is to consciously bring to our prayer each person with whom we have some special or close relations, or with whom some commitments are involved.
This is not, of course, a matter of spying, but rather an expression of genuine love and concern for the others. We should never be indifferent to anyone. Once we notice some symptoms of what we may refer to as the Judas Iscariot syndrome, we have to start to do something, praying first, asking God for some light and guidance, and coming up with some action plan.
Usually, what is just needed is to shower the person concerned with more affection and understanding, giving him always good example. In other words, to drown him with a lot of goodness with the view of leading him to a conversion!*