Today is Spy Wednesday; the day Judas Iscariot took coin from Caiaphas and the gents of Sanhedrin in order to betray Jesus.
Money exchanged hands.
It was also the day that, while Judas was ensuring that no kid would be baptized with his cognomen, a woman from Bethany anointed Jesus with oil.
An expensive gift was given.
Spy Wednesday is also known as the Tenebrae, the Time of Shadows, when the liturgical year goes dark, until Easter. It signals the beginning of the Passion - Jesus conducts the first Mass on Thursday, followed by the agony in the Garden, the disciples beat it, Peter denies knowing Jesus, the Temple guards arrest Jesus, take Him to Caiaphas and Caiaphas hands Jesus over to the civil authorities. On Friday, Jesus is condemned by the secular government, tortured and crucified.
Money and gifts are signs of intentions. One is awful and one is sweet.
Most of my greatest sins were rooted in what I thought were good intentions. I lacked the Wisdom to know the difference between evil and genuine sweetness.
Some of my best moments as a human being were rooted genuine sweetness. In 1998, just after my wife passed away, I was heading home to Griffith, Indiana, where a local woman watched my three kids. I was and remain a train wreck of complicated grief and self-pity. I picked up a mother and her young daughter who were standing in the south-east bound emergency lanes of the Bishop Ford Expressway at 115th Street, near the OTB. She had been standing there with the little girl for about a half hour and needed to get home to Altgeld Gardens. I asked her why she was on the Ford, when the Gardens were to the east and told to mind my own damn business. The little girl about six or seven cried up a storm. It was snowing like a son of a gun. The woman had blown her week's money at the Illinois Gaming Board Approved entertainment outlet.
I gave the woman a twenty spot and drove the two of them into the Gardens. I felt pretty good.
The next night I went to Trump Casino, played Caribbean Stud and lost two weeks pay. Not my first or last rodeo that one. I am one degenerate gambler - two recoveries and waiting for next fall from grace.
Judas got nothing on me, but despair.
We all slip and fall. Peter denies Jesus three times before the rooster does the two count; James and beloved John, as well as the balance of the Disciples went into the shadows, as well. Pilate washed his hands. The good people, after considerable polling showed that Barabbas was a sweetheart, shouted for Jesus' Crucifixion. The Men of the Cohort gambled "responsibly" for Jesus' clothes. Yet, we all can ask for forgiveness.
Money is not a gift.
That's my lesson out of the shadow. Time for this sinner to hit the Confessional box. Reconciliation is renewal - you can't have a Happy Easter, or a solid Passover, without it.