Judas Iscariot - Spy Wednesday Holy Week 2010

Wednesday of Holy Week is known as Spy Wednesday because on this day Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces.

This is also the day that Jesus was anointed with an expensive jar of alabaster by the woman at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper.
The woman brings a bottle of perfume worth one year’s wages and uses it to anoint Jesus’ feet.  She weeps tears on His feet and then washes them with her hair.  Judas is appalled.

Meanwhile Judas betrays Jesus for a tenth of what the perfume was worth, and  seals the deal with a kiss of death later in the week. 

So why did Judas do it ?
We don't know and there are no easy answers.
The gospels suggest he was disillusioned with Jesus accepting the extravagant gift when there were so many poor people that needed the money and he acted out of rage and petty malice at being rebuked in front of the other disciples.

Maybe he was trying to provoke Jesus into action.

He had heard the wonderful sermons and witnessed some fantastic miracles  but perhaps  he wanted and expected Jesus to now begin some action against the Romans.

Judas is often portrayed as a political zealot rather than a spiritual seeker.

(Image :Judas seeks High priests out James Tissot)

Perhaps Judas could not really understand or accept when Jesus taught about loving one's enemies but how many of us are like Judas in that respect ?- most of us, I suspect.

Maybe he just lost faith and the high priests saw the chance and he was in too deep before he had a chance to realise the consequences of his actions.

Ironically, out of all the disciples perhaps the faith Judas had in Jesus was greater because he earnestly believed that Jesus would show his power as the Son Of God when it came to the crunch so Judas reckoned that if he " landed  Jesus in deep trouble" he would then be able to prove who he was and all would be well.

Was he just misguided and headstrong? so like Peter but differing  because his denial of Christ led to his arrest and crucifixion and Peter's denial was a fear reflex just to protect himself.

It is easier for me to think of Judas as a misguided political zealot than as an outright traitor who betrayed because he had suddenly turned to hate everything that Jesus stood for.

In discussions with friends there is a sneaking feeling of compassion for the predicament of Judas because it seemed too that he had no real choice; all this was pre-ordained and so what he did fulfilled the Scriptures. But then what about free will ?

Some people say that Judas did not own up and ask for forgiveness after his betrayal whereas Peter did and so Judas is beyond redemption whereas Peter is redeemed.

Of course, we don't know what Judas was thinking and we don't know if he did ask for forgiveness at some point.

The Church until after Vatican II viewed suicide as a mortal sin and refused to bury victims in a church cemetery. 

Somehow it was often linked with  the condemnation and despair of Judas and betrayal and that is way too heavy and judgemental for me. 

Suicide is wrong because it devalues life and I don't believe we have the right to take our own or another life but I find it hard to hate Judas.

I find it much easier to have an intense dislike of the Pharisees !!

and Richard Rohr has this to say :

"We Catholics are always canonizing saints, pronouncing them to be in heaven for sure. 

They are our role models; we can imitate them.

But in the entire history of the church, it has never been declared that a single person is in hell. Not Hitler, Not Even Judas. 

The church has never said, “This person is definitely in hell.”

We almost hold out for universal restoration: that the true meaning of the raising of Jesus is that God will turn all our human crucifixions into resurrection."

This is radical stuff and I imagine very hard for most of us to grasp.

But there is a theology of salvation for all the murderers in human history?

We also know that when we pray The Our Father we say " Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us".

What about Al Qaeda and suicide bombers and the Twin Towers and all the evils perpetrated through history etc etc ? 

I will have to work on this one !! 

1 comment:

claire said...

To me, Judas was framed by the evangelists -- for a reason they only know.

See Shannon's Finding Grace Within and her Poem for Holy Week.