Holy Week Reflection: Only in the Cross

In today’s Gospel, we hear Saint John’s account of Judas’s early departure from the Last Supper. Saint John remarks that, “After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.” Judas was tempted by the devil to derail the plan for salvation. In Blessed John Henry Newman’s Mediations on the Stations of Cross, at the Ninth Station (Jesus falls a third time), Cardinal Newman mentions the three falls of Satan: the first, being the great battle between the Archangel Michael and the devil; the second, when the Gospel and the Kingdom of Heaven are preached to world; and the third fall, at the end of time. These three falls of Satan led him to tempt Judas into betraying Jesus. As Cardinal Newman notes, “Satan knew his time was short, and thought he might use it to good effect. But little dreaming that he would be acting in behalf of the world’s redemption…”

In these final days before Easter, we need to remind ourselves of the paradox of Holy Week: only through the darkness of the Cross do we reach the light of the Resurrection. We must also remember the very thing that Judas forgot: the saving power of our Lord. Through an act of betrayal, humanity’s salvation is won. No matter what our Cross may be, what our sins against the Lord are, we should not imitate Judas with a lack of remorse, but rather be like Peter after his denial of Christ. In these final days of Lent, we should try our hardest to make a good confession to free ourselves from the bonds of death, so we can join the angels and saints in the Triumph of Easter.