Traditionally this is the day when we reflect on Judas and his betrayal of the Lord. For this he received the grand price of thirty pieces of silver, forever the price of treachery.
Pope Benedict has something very interesting to say about Judas. "Judas was neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashions".
What an insight - Judas wanted to keep up with the crowd. When Jesus was popular, he was in with him, at the centre of things, an Apostle. But when the powers that be, the movers and shakers of Jewish society, had turned against Jesus, then Judas was conflicted, that conflict lead to betrayal, but one in which Judas would fill his pockets with ill gotten gains.
This has always been a problem in the Church. The Judas in our midst is not the one who consorts with evil, but the ones who sell their souls to the prevailing fashions of the age and seek to make a name for themselves. They may put forward all sorts of noble reasons for doing so, but a lot of the time, they are merely trying to satisfy a hunger to be liked by the world, even to be famous.
Many Christians fall into this trap, including many clergy and religious who dilute, deny or rebel against Church teaching in order to keep in with the elite. They may convince themselves that what they do is blessed by God, a worthy dissent for the sake of the people, or the most lame excuse of all: for pastoral reasons.
The example of Judas is a timely one for us. We must resist the lure of those who want us to go their way in opposition to Christ, those who want people "on the inside" to help them bring the Church down. Jesus is, and never was, popular with the elite. He was always an outsider, and those who follow him tend to be outsiders most of the time. We have to come to accept that and get used to it.
That said, we must continue to engage with the world, proclaim the Gospel, challenge and live in it as so as to be the salt of the earth and light of the world.
Is Judas saved? I do not know. The Church has never given an opinon, officially. We do not know what happened in his heart as the rope tightened around his neck. We shall not speculate: but rather pray and learn from his mistake.
Thank you, Father.ReplyDelete