This prayer was, in part, inspired by today’s reading from Forward Day By Day.
Spy Wednesday. How heinous a description. But it is, thus, accurate for describing the day in which you were betrayed by one of your closest followers. Judas. The name sounds wicked and disgusting. (Though perhaps that is just because I’ve always heard it muttered in such a tone.)
I like to think that I am not like Judas, oh Lord. I would never betray you; I haven’t ever betrayed you. I am so much better than Judas. And Peter, too. What a coward.
But then you said that the way I treat the ‘least of these’ is directly correlative of I’ve treated you. I have to think about that: how have I treated the lesser, the forgotten, the despised, the broken, the wretched, the disgusting, the sinful and the despicable neighbors of mine? I gossip. I judge and belittle (‘what kind of a person would do that?’). I avoid the homeless man on the street, steer my eyes away from his. I point fingers. I blame society’s problems on others, particularly anyone other than me.
So then, Lord, have I denied you? Betrayed you even?
If you went to the cross for the least of these, then you went to the cross for Peter and Judas. If you went to the cross for sinners, then you went to the cross for people like me and disciples like your own; people who were generally decent human beings but had a dark, cowardly side to them. If you went to the cross because of everyone, then you rose from the grave for everyone. No one is beyond your grace, not from Gandhi to Hitler. A startling, offensive notion.
So have mercy on me, oh Lord, as you had mercy on Peter. Forgive my betrayal of you, oh Lord. All the sins I commit because I am too scared to follow you with my cross.
Have mercy on us, oh Christ.