Can I just say I love the name of today? “Spy Wednesday.”
Today is the day that Judas went to the Sanhedrin and agreed to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver:
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
Luke puts it even more darkly:
3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
Fisheaters give us this information about customs for today:
Today and during the Sacred Triduum, the Matins and Lauds of the Divine Office are often sung in a haunting service known as the Tenebrae service (“tenebrae” meaning “shadows”), which is basically a funeral service for Jesus. During the Matins on Good Friday, one by one, the candles are extinguished in the Church, leaving the congregation in total darkness, and in a silence that is punctuated by the strepitus meant to evoke the convulsion of nature at the death of Christ. It has also been described as the sound of the tomb door closing. During the Triduum, the Matins and Lauds readings come from the following day’s readings each night because the hours of Matins and Lauds were pushed back so that the public might better participate during these special three days (i.e., the Matins and Lauds readings heard at Spy Wednesday’s tenebrae service are those for Maundy Thursday, the readings for Maundy Thursday’s tenebrae Cercis siliquastrumservice are from Good Friday, and Good Friday’s readings are from Holy Saturday’s Divine Office).
Legend says that the tree upon which Judas hanged himself was the Cercis siliquastrum — a tree that is now known as the “Judas Tree.” It is a beautiful tree, native to the Mediterranean region, with brilliant deep pink flowers in the spring — flowers that are said to have blushed in shame after Judas’s suicide.