“‘The Son of Man is departing… but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!’”
Christ’s presence in the world is all-pervasive. Certainly for us who have been baptized, Christ is a gift given to us. The meaning of our lives as Christians can be measured by how we use that gift. When we consider again the words of Our Lord— “…woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”—we can easily see that we too have betrayed the Son of Man. How often have we betrayed our baptismal promises: those promises we are preparing ourselves to renew at Easter?
But if we consider the word at the root of this phrase, we realize even more so how by our very nature we are bound to hand over Christ: not by betrayal. but a “handing over” nonetheless. The Latin verb from which we derive the phrase “hand over”—tradere—is the same verb from which we derive the word “tradition”, the source of transmitting the Catholic faith to all peoples through all ages.
How longingly Christ wants to be “handed over”! How lovingly Christ “hands over” to us on the altar of the Cross—at this same altar—His Body and Blood, soul and divinity. Woe to us if—in receiving Christ—we do not hand him over. To whom ought we hand him over? Not to priests who will sacrifice Him to death, but to those who search for meaning in this world. Woe to us if we do not hand over to others the Truth that only in the Cross is meaning to be found.