I am a born and raised Catholic, studied in a Catholic school all my life and an extremely active church goer at some point. All those three points are facts, today, those facts are still correct. I am the way I am because it is my imperative bestowed to me by family, tradition, society and well, because I was baptized. Before you start yapping about how generic this is going to be – no, I am not an atheist, agnostic, Jesus freak or any of those labels people use that relate to faith.
Now that I’ve cleared that out…
I try my best to regularly read the assigned biblical scripture everyday and with Easter Sunday right around the corner and Holy Week in our midst, I noticed something I’ve never noticed before. Not bragging – we were obliged to study an entire section of the New Testament in the bible for our board exam. We read about Jesus’ miracles, suffering, sacrifice and humanity. For years I thought that what I read was all about Jesus, how we should aim to be perfect like Him, that we should be holy and pure. That Jesus sacrificed His life for us to save us. And everytime I go to mass, I would think I know almost everything from the bible because that’s what we’ve been listening to all this time! So to me, it was a “no-duh” situation that the assigned readings is to simply state God’s amazing love for us through his son, Jesus. It was a beautiful love story.
Sorry, but that’s still not my point.
My point was that all this while, I was wrong. Okay, I didn’t really fast diligently as I was supposed to nor did I follow what I decided to give up. Confession doesn’t make me feel comfortable at all so don’t ask how long its been. That’s my point – the whole time I thought the Bible was to tell one of the greatest love story ever known, a sacrifice so that Jesus’ death will be self explanatory and that in my head, we’re saved. That we are holy because we pray and have faith.
But we’re not.
This week’s reading is about Judas, I saw a lot of myself in him. As much as I’ve always wanted to consider myself as one of those seeds that fell in the good soil (biblical reference), I think its not just what we say or do but our intentions and self reflection count in a lot. I always saw myself or wanted to be one of the disciples; meaning to say that I wanted to be part of the good side, you know, the strong bunch and who doesn’t?
To say and do the things we do doesn’t make any difference if we haven’t fully reviewed ourselves. Today’s reflection says:
“a person who intends to receive the Eucharist must not do so if he is unworthy to do so, if he has not examined himself to make sure he is in the state of grace, and if he does not recognize the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist”
In my own translation – don’t eat the bread if you’re not hungry.
Judas was actually part of the “good” gang, he was welcomed in and treated like their own. Yet day after day as I read into the scriptures, there was this obvious highlight of sin and wrong, why? well because he didn’t know what it meant to be a disciple, he didn’t know what Jesus meant to the world nor did he understand that there is goodness in everything thus he turned away to what he had.
To pray, to fast, to go for confession, to live in the church for the rest of your life is barely enough to feed faith. I’ve read this story so many times and saw something magical in it, this man dying on a cross which instantly saved the world. I thought that was enough to keep me going. Heck! I thought it was enough to say “close the books guys, we made it out!” Sometimes, doing the same routine feels like we’ve accomplished our goals, faith is not on a point system where if we do a million rosaries and walk the old lady down the road, we’ve earned a million bricks to our mansion in heaven. This is something we look after every second by the second; the moment we look away from all this normal things we do to keep faith, we tend to see something else shinier.
We are not enough, I don’t think we will ever be enough alone. To keep faith was something Judas wasn’t so good at because all he held was a piece of bread.