Judas Iscariot doesn't have a feast day, of course. No churches are named after him, and no towns. But he does have today: it's Spy Wednesday, popularly believed to be the day Judas decided to betray Christ.
Spy Wednesday is a new one on me. We don't have it in Metuchen, and I've never seen one of the red-masked spies on horseback in New York -- they abound in Mexico, I read on the Internet. They have it in Ireland. St. Clement's is in a Mexican neighborhood. But I never saw a spy.
But I suppose it's in the nature of spies that you don't see them. They are secretive, crafty, sneaking unseen through life, robbing people of their secrets. They know things about you, things you'd just as soon people did not know. Looking in your window, reading your email, reporting back what they have learned about you to the Department of Homeland Security.
Spies get inside your life to do their work. You think they're your friend. But you don't know them. Maybe you don't know anybody, you think.
A day that reflects upon betrayal. I could have borne it if it were my enemy, says the psalmist, but it was you. Betrayal is the crowning sorrow of the week, in a way, as hard in its way as the scourging will be later on. That I will suffer, and that the one who kisses me will help to bring it about: who could bear it?
I know a woman whose husband told her every day that he loved her. That she was beautiful and brilliant. That he was so lucky to be married to her. Then one day he told her that he had another family, a wife and a little girl, and that he was going to live with them now. That he'd had this relationship since before they were married. That it had been continuous the whole time. He'd had another family each time he told her how much he loved her.
Hard enough to be alone. To become suddenly alone in this way was almost more than she could bear. And yet, she bore it. She reeled for a while, and she is permanently scarred. But she is still here. And she has a life -- a different life from the one she thought she would have, but a life, nonetheless.
The work of Judas is, ultimately, unsuccessful. He gets Jesus killed, but the story does not end there. Where is God in the midst of betrayal? You don't know at first. But wade into the terrible soup of it and look around. There is comfort and strength, even there. Especially there. Because that's where you need it.