The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
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TMID Editorial: The night of the betrayal

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 11:02 Last update: about 17 days ago

The Catholic Church this evening will commemorate what is known as Maundy Thursday, the night when Jesus Christ had his Last Supper with his 12 Apostles before he was crucified.

It is the night of Judas’ betrayal, the night when one of Jesus’ closest friends kissed him on the cheek to identify him to his captors.

Jesus was taken away and eventually appeared before Pontius Pilate who, under pressure from Jewish leaders, ordered his crucifixion.


It is the story Catholics all over the world hear every year, as written in the Bible. It is the story of what is arguably one of the biggest betrayals in the history of mankind. It is the story of how even those closest to you can turn against you.

Each and every one of us has felt betrayed at least once. Young children feel betrayed if the person whom they consider as their best friend suddenly prefers someone else. As we grow older, the sense of betrayal takes a deeper meaning and the scars are more difficult to heal. It becomes worse when a first betrayal is followed by another.

Many times, the happenings are minor issues which can be resolved quickly. But there are many occasions when betrayals lead to serious repercussions. It is never easy to forgive and forget, and some people tend to have long memories.

It could happen in a relationship between partners, which could lead to the break-up of a marriage. It could happen at the place of work, which could lead to the need for a change of job. It could happen in organisations, which could lead to them folding up. It could happen in politics too, and the effects in such cases are wide-ranging.

When an adult abuses his or her authority and takes advantage of those they supposedly protect, it is a kind of betrayal. When we ignore people in need and the cries of those who are suffering, it is a kind of betrayal too.

Wherever there are humans, there is betrayal. Because betrayal is a human weakness.

People who betray do it mostly for selfish reasons. They do so to gain something, but by doing so they are hurting others, sometimes irreparably. Betrayal is the breaking of trust, and there are times when this is forgiven, but at other times the injured party just cannot get over it.

This is what happens when betrayal happens in personal relationships. When betrayal occurs in the wider context, on a general level there are also consequences.

When politicians, for example, promise something and then do the opposite, they are betraying the trust of the people. Unfortunately, this has happened many times in the past and will continue to happen in the future.

When institutions, supposedly set up to serve the people, end up serving their masters or those who put them there, they are also betraying the people’s trust.

When people in authority, rather than serve others seek to serve themselves, they are betraying the people too.

We have all looked at Judas with disdain, and probably we have not forgiven him for what he did. But we have all acted like him at one time or another. Next time you’re about to betray something or someone, think about this.

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