Friends, today’s Gospel is from John’s account of the Last Supper, where Jesus acknowledges Judas as his betrayer and tells him to get on with it.
God’s desires have been, from the beginning, opposed. Consistently, human beings have preferred the isolation of sin to the festivity of the sacred meal. Theologians have called this anomalous tendency the mysterium iniquitatis (the mystery of evil), for there is no rational ground for it, no reason for it to exist.
But there it stubbornly is, always shadowing the good, parasitic upon that which it tries to destroy. Therefore, we should not be too surprised that, as the sacred meal comes to its richest possible expression, evil accompanies it.
Judas the betrayer expresses the mysterium iniquitatis with particular symbolic power, for he had spent years in intimacy with Jesus, taking in the Lord’s moves and thoughts at close quarters, sharing the table of fellowship with him—and yet he saw fit to turn Jesus over to his enemies and to interrupt the coinherence of the Last Supper.
Those of us who regularly gather around the table of intimacy with Christ and yet engage consistently in the works of darkness are meant to see ourselves in the betrayer.
Reflect: When have you been confronted with the “mystery of evil,” and what role did your faith play in processing that confrontation?