Spy Wednesday: Judas agrees to Betray Jesus -- notice the Black Demon behind Judas in this image.
On Wednesday of Holy Week -- Spy Wednesday -- it is traditional both the recall the betrayal of Christ by the Apostle Judas, and to read the account of the Passion according to St. Luke.
For more on the account and customs surrounding Spy Wednesday, and our recalling Judas agreeing to betray Our Divine Lord, you should consult:
Fish Eaters: Spy Wednesday
The Gospel of St. Matthew, in chapter 26, recalls the agreement of Judas to betray Our Lord: "26:14 And at that, one of the twelve, Judas who was called Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and asked them, What will you pay me for handing him over to you? Whereupon they laid down thirty pieces of silver. 16 And he, from that time onwards, looked about for an opportunity to betray him." It is this that Spy Wednesday historically recalls, and which the image above pictures.
Today it is an appropriate occasion to ponder the powerful text of the prophet Isaiah, from his 53rd chapter, verse 4:
"Vere languores nostros ipse tulit,
et dolores nostros ipse portavit;
et nos putavimus eum quasi leprosum,et percussum a Deo, et humiliatum."
"Our weakness, and it was he who carried the weight of it, our miseries, and it was he who bore them. A leper, so we thought of him, a man God had smitten and brought low."
The Spanish priest and composer, Tomas Luis de Victoria (+1611AD), inspired by this text, wrote this sublime polyphonic setting of Vere Langoures:
The Gospel of St. Luke is unique in both its particular details related to medicine, St. Luke being of that profession, and, of course, of its insight into the perspective our the Blessed Virgin Mary. He describes the Passion of Christ in chapter 22 and 23 of his Gospel:
"Chapter 22:39 And now he went out, as his custom was, to mount Olivet, his disciples following him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation. 41 Then he parted from them, going a stone’s throw off, and knelt down to pray; 42 Father, he said, if it pleases thee, take away this chalice from before me; only as thy will is, not as mine is. 43 And he had sight of an angel from heaven, encouraging him. And now he was in an agony, and prayed still more earnestly; 44 his sweat fell to the ground like thick drops of blood. 45 When he rose from his prayer, he went back to his disciples, and found that they were sleeping, overwrought with sorrow. 46 How can you sleep? he asked. Rise up and pray, so that you may not enter into temptation.
47 Even as he spoke, a multitude came near; their guide was the man called Judas, one of the twelve, who came close to Jesus, to kiss him. 48 Jesus said to him, Judas, wouldst thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss? 49 Then those who were about him, seeing what would come of it, asked, Lord, shall we strike out with our swords? 50 And one of them struck a servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 Jesus answered, Let them have their way in this. And he touched his ear, and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and temple officers and elders who had come to find him, Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a robber? 53 I was close to you in the temple, day after day, and you never laid hands on me. But your time has come now, and darkness has its will.
54 So they apprehended him, and led him away to the house of the high priest; and Peter followed at a long distance. 55 They had lit a fire in the midst of the court, and were sitting round it; and there Peter sat among them. 56 One of the maidservants, as she saw him sitting there in the firelight, looked closely at him and said, This is one of those who were with him. 57 And he disowned him; Woman, he said, I have no knowledge of him. 58 After a short while, another of the company said, when he caught sight of him, Thou too art one of them; and Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 Then there was an interval of about an hour, before another man insisted, It is the truth that this fellow was in his company; why, he is a Galilean. 60 Man, said Peter, I do not understand what thou meanest; and all at once, while the words were on his lips, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked at Peter; and Peter remembered what the Lord had said to him, Before cock-crow, thou wilt thrice disown me. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
63 The men who held Jesus prisoner beat him and mocked him; 64 they blindfolded him and struck him on the face, and then questioned him, Come, prophesy; tell us who it is that smote thee. 65 And they used many other blasphemous words against him. 66 When day came, all the elders of the people, chief priests and scribes, brought him before their council; If thou art the Christ, they said, tell us. 67 Why, he said, if I tell you, you will never believe me: 68 and if I ask you questions, I know you will not answer them, nor acquit me. 69 I will only tell you that a time is coming when the Son of Man will be seated in power at God’s right hand. 70 And they all said, Thou art, then, the Son of God? He told them, Your lips have said that I am. 71 And they said, What further need have we of witnesses? We have heard the words from his own mouth.
Chapter 23:1 Then the whole assembly of them rose up and brought him before Pilate, 2 and there fell to accusing him; We have discovered, they said, that this man is subverting the loyalty of our people, forbids the payment of tribute to Caesar, and calls himself Christ the king. 3 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the king of the Jews? He answered him, Thy own lips have said it. 4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, I cannot discover any fault in this man. 5 But they insisted, He rouses sedition among the people; he has gone round the whole of Judaea preaching, beginning in Galilee and ending here. 6 Pilate, upon the mention of Galilee, asked whether the man was a Galilean; 7 and learning that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, remitted his cause to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at this time. 8 Herod was overjoyed at seeing Jesus; for a long time he had been eager to have sight of him, because he had heard so much of him, and now he hoped to witness some miracle of his. 9 He asked him many questions, but could get no answer from him, 10 although the chief priests and scribes stood there, loudly accusing him. 11 So Herod and his attendants made a jest of him, arraying him in festal attire out of mockery, and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate, who had hitherto been at enmity with one another, became friends.
13 And now Pilate summoned the chief priests, and the rulers, and the people, 14 and said to them, You have brought this man before me as one who seduces the people from their allegiance; I examined him in your presence, and could find no substance in any of the charges you bring against him; 15 nor could Herod, when I referred you to him. It is plain that he has done nothing which deserves death. 16 I will scourge him, and then he shall go free. 17 At the festival, he was obliged to grant them the liberty of one prisoner: 18 but the whole concourse raised the cry, Away with this man; we must have Barabbas released. 19 (Barabbas was a man who had been thrown into prison for raising a revolt in the city, and for murder.) 20 Once more Pilate spoke to them, offering to set Jesus at liberty; 21 but they continued to answer with shouts of, Crucify him, crucify him. 22 Then for the third time he said to them, Why, what wrong has he done? I can find no fault in him that deserves death; I will scourge him, and then he shall go free. 23 But they, with loud cries, insisted on their demand that he should be crucified; and their voices carried the day; 24 Pilate gave his assent that their request should be granted, 25 releasing the man of their choice who had been imprisoned for revolt and murder, while he handed Jesus over to their will.
26 As they led him off, they caught hold of a man called Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and loaded him with the cross, so that he should carry it after Jesus. 27 Jesus was followed by a great multitude of the people, and also of women, who beat their breasts and mourned over him; 28 but he turned to them, and said, It is not for me that you should weep, daughters of Jerusalem; you should weep for yourselves and your children. 29 Behold, a time is coming when men will say, It is well for the barren, for the wombs that never bore children, and the breasts that never suckled them. 30 It is then that they will begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, Cover us. 31 If it goes so hard with the tree that is still green, what will become of the tree that is already dried up? 32 Two others, who were criminals, were led off with him to be put to death. 33 And when they reached the place which is named after a skull, they crucified him there; and also the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. 34 Jesus meanwhile was saying, Father, forgive them; they do not know what it is they are doing. And they divided his garments among themselves by lot.
35 The people stood by, watching; and the rulers joined them in pouring scorn on him; He saved others, they said; if he is the Christ, God’s chosen, let him save himself. 36 The soldiers, too, mocked him, when they came and offered him vinegar, 37 by saying, If thou art the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 (A proclamation had been written up over him in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, This is the king of the Jews.) 39 And one of the two thieves who hung there fell to blaspheming against him; Save thyself, he said, and us too, if thou art the Christ. 40 But the other rebuked him; What, he said, hast thou no fear of God, when thou art undergoing the same sentence? 41 And we justly enough; we receive no more than the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing amiss. 42 Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said to him, I promise thee, this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.
44 It was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in the midst: 46 and Jesus said, crying with a loud voice, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and yielded up his spirit as he said it. 47 And the centurion, when he saw what befell, gave glory to God; This, he said, was indeed a just man. 48 And the whole multitude of those who stood there watching it, when they saw the issue, went home beating their breasts.
49 All his acquaintances, with the women who had followed him from Galilee, watched while this happened, standing at a distance. 50 And now a man called Joseph came forward, one of the councillors, a good and upright man, 51 who had not taken part with the council and its doings; he was from Arimathea, a Jewish city, and was one of those who waited for the kingdom of God. 52 He it was who approached Pilate, and asked to have the body of Jesus. 53 This he took, and wrapped it in a winding-sheet, and laid it in a tomb fashioned out of the rock, in which no man had ever been buried. 54 It was the day of preparation; the next day was the sabbath. 55 And the women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was buried; 56 so they went back, and prepared spices and ointments, and while it was the sabbath they kept still, as the law commanded."