As soon as the Easter Vigil was done on midnight of Sunday morning, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy. It’s Easter, people! The tomb is empty! Jesus is risen! The Glory of God has defeated the night! Hallelujah!
And it was an amazing kind of joy, of delight, to know that it is Easter and Jesus is victorious, as He always is. Over the Holy Week, I pondered over how his disciples must have felt, right after Jesus expired on the cross. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of their pain, of their sense of loss and how life could possibly be after their friend was buried in the tomb. They didn’t know that Jesus was going to rise on Sunday. Jesus spoke of it, but I’m sure it was hard to understand then. What’s all this rising again mumbo-jumbo? Why is our friend speaking of death? Surely he didn’t mean it that way.
Then I realized that I actually knew that pain. I felt it, too. I felt it in a miniscule way when every time I was disappointed, I felt it in a bigger way in the times when my heart got broken. I knew a variation of that pain, that sense of loss in realizing that what I had known for the past few days, weeks, months, years is just…gone. And there is nothing I can do to get it back.
Of course I knew that pain.
Earlier in Holy Week, I was reflecting on Jesus’ pain as the week went by. Apparently, Holy Wednesday is also known as Spy Wednesday, because it was day when Judas went to the Pharisees to turn Jesus in. The Gospel that day felt like a knife to my heart:
Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priestsand said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirtypieces of silver to him.From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. (Matthew 24:14-16)
I could only imagine Jesus’ pain then, knowing that one of his closest friends betrayed him. For thirty pieces of silver. There was so much pain for him in the next few days, but I think the pain of this betrayal — and Peter’s later denial — was even worse than the pain of the crown and the scourging and the nails.
How terrible it is to be betrayed by a friend.
Even more terrible when I realized that there is very little difference between me and Judas.