Sweet sonnets and lovely songs have been written in which one partner tells his/her beloved other that “you’re always on my mind.” That’s how love affects thought patterns, no matter one’s age. It is a fit subject for wonder and praise. An intimate thing. A beautiful human thing.

Today we are allowed to “overhear” Our Lord, through the medium of John’s gospel, express in prayer not only His love for His Father, but also even for Judas. That troubled man had just left the Upper Room to begin his ultimate act of betrayal. Our Lord’s prayer is especially remarkable, because in only a matter of hours, His captors would arrive to nab Him to lead Him away. They would rewrite the story of love at its best. But it would be told via terrible torture and a despicable death. What strength of mind and heart our Savior had to pray like He did. Even then He was always concerned for “the other.”

That “other” in this context even included Judas. What a sad and confused man, this one of the chosen Twelve turned out to be. Forever after this night, his name would become synonymous with all kinds of treachery. To accuse another of being a Judas is the final blow in a slow or sudden breakdown of trust.

While we have no inherent right to play God by placing Judas in hell, we dare not. True, his crime was of the devil. The Victim was God in the flesh. But we, in our small and petty ways have done measurably evil with our repeated habits of sin against the same Victim.

We must humbly admit that our sins nailed Jesus to the wood of the cross just as surely as the ignorant soldiers of Rome. He hangs there to make amends for our sins. We know that their weight almost crushed Our Lord. He “became sin” in St. Paul’s powerful description.

Yet, by God’s grace, we can share in the triumph of the Third Day. In a very real way, we might even claim to be “always on Jesus’ mind,” The question follows like day follows night: “Is Jesus always on our minds?”

Do we take advantage of the big and small ways that life offers to prove it?

During the season of Super Bowl I, the great quarterback Bart Starr had a little incentive scheme going with his oldest son. For every perfect paper Bart Junior brought home from school, Starr gave him ten cents. After a particularly rough game against St. Louis, in which Starr felt he had performed poorly, he returned home weary and battered, late at night after a long plane ride. But he couldn’t help feeling better when he reached his bedroom. There attached to his pillow was a note: “Dear Dad, I thought you played a great game. Love, Bart.” Taped to the note were two dimes.

God love you and keep Him in mind.