When I hear the words Spy Wednesday, it brings back childhood memories, particularly about the time I had to devise a scheme to retrieve a confiscated comic book.
One of the grannies in my neighborhood in Plymouth, Massachusetts, found Mad Magazine intolerable (though I doubt she ever read it). “Your Mother lets you read those books!” she scowled.
I figured, well, Granny’s Catholic, and partially shrugged it off (but then again, so was my mom… so I gritted my teeth and just decided to take one on the chin from Brendan’s granny).
But then she did the unthinkable.
She yanked my comic book out of my hand, a special edition of Spy vs. Spy, which I hadn’t finished reading yet, and chucked it in the trash. Nope! That wasn’t going to fly.
There’s a connection between what happened next and the reason why we call this Wednesday “Spy.”
Why do we call today Spy Wednesday?
Traditionally, today commemorates the day when Judas Iscariot conspired to hand Jesus over to the Pharisees for 30 pieces of silver.
It’s easy to point the finger at Judas, but I believe there’s a little spy in each of us. We are, after all, children of Adam and Eve, and though we don’t like accepting the blame for that, who can excuse themselves of sin?
Jesus was not only handed over by one of his Apostles, he was handed over by all his Apostles who abandoned him and denied him, and more importantly he was handed over by the Father. Jesus was handed over for all of us, for our sake, on account of our guilt and sin.
Today offers us the opportunity to reflect on our own lives and ask the question that all the Apostles asked, “Lord, is it I?”
Think of it this way. Why did all the apostles ask Jesus that question? We might as well also ask, why were they all spared the fate of sinning so gravely? Why are we saved?
Spy Wednesday is a day to recognize, accept, and ask the Lord forgiveness for the times we handed him over… for less than 30 pieces of silver, perhaps.
Today is also a day to imitate our Lord’s attitude of humble acceptance. There are times when we get “handed over” into bad situations. When we are wrongly blamed, treated unfairly, or when life deals us a heavy blow and the circumstances are beyond our control, it seems right to complain to God and ask, “Why me, Lord? I didn’t do anything to deserve this!”
Perhaps not. Nor did Jesus deserve to be condemned. Today we can unite ourselves with Jesus in a special way by accepting our hardships, asking him to allow us a small part in his passion, and thanking him for bearing the weight of our faults on his shoulders.
My devious plan to recover my comics
Here’s how I did it…
Brendan was a bit of a goodie-two-shoes, so I could not count on him as an accomplice. My scheming mind would not rest until I vindicated myself (and my honor!). It came to me after about 5 minutes of brooding. I turned to Brendan and said:
“Hey, Brendan! Let’s play Gotcha!” (a sophisticated version of hide and seek)
Brendan, of course, could not resist. Then I added:
“No hiding in the house!”
And of course, I also knew Brendan would fall for my negative reinforcement (never tell Brendan not to do something unless you really want him to do it).
I covered my eyes 😉 counted to ten, and proceeded into the kitchen through the back door where (through the cracks between my fingers) I saw Brendan slink away moments before. Just to push him deeper into hiding, I called out, “I said, No hiding in the house!”
My plan worked! I opened the trashcan, dusted the coffee grounds off my comic book, and out the door I went…