"Is it I, Lord?"
The question is so lovely in the song "Here I am, Lord." But in today's Gospel it brings a chill. Is it possible that after going to the leaders and explicitly asking about money "if I hand him over," Judas could ask, "Is it I, Lord" who "will hand you over"? Was he really so blind to himself, or was he just extraordinarily hypocritical?
Actually, it doesn't pay to ask about someone else. Why is the examination of conscience (or of consciousness, as it is perhaps better translated) so highly recommended in the spiritual life? Because we can be amazingly blind to what we are doing, or why we are really doing it. I have had more than one opportunity to realize (sadly, after the fact) that I had done injustice to others, or diminished them, or done some harm of which I was completely unaware, because my motives had been so good! ("Is it I, Lord?")
"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" means something!
Lately on YouTube, I have found some extremely distressing videos posted by people who apparently believe they are serving the cause of respect for the Liturgy by posting video clips (with some self-righteously outraged subtitles) showing liturgical abuses. The things I saw were truly inappropriate, signs amazingly poor judgment (even ignorance), but not sacrilege. What gave me the chills, though, was the realization that someone had attended that Mass, not to particpate in the Eucharist, but with a video camera, to nail the priest and (in one case) try to foment enough of a reaction to get the priest laicized. Where was the sacrilege? Certainly, the person with the video camera believed that he or she was acting for a noble cause. And I imagine they did "cease and desist" during the Consecration. I certainly hope so. But what were they really doing? Going for the jugular. Sharks in the water. (Surely, it is not I, Lord?)
"They know not what they do." We all need so much mercy.