From the Heart of Your Loving Shepherd
PEACEFUL BLESSEDNESS OF EASTER AND THE WRETCHEDNESS OF BETRAYAL
Peace promotes peace and always builds harmony, concord, and serenity! On the contrary, intentional thoughts, deeds, and treacherous acts of betrayals not only destroy a relationship but totally ruins and annihilates the one who, plans, foments the process, and executes acts of betrayal. The most evident example of the latter is the life of Judas ISCARIOT, who though lived and moved in the sanctifying, spiritual ambient and company of Jesus was always secretively, totally hand in glove with the satanic forces dubiously! In this week's reflection, I wish to conclude our focus on Judas ISCARIOT the betrayer and the traitor.
The Gospel of John 13:21-27., very clearly describes the persona of Judas ISCARIOT, which is worth considering for our continual reflection this week as well in comprehending the PROFILE OF THE TRAITOR: "Jesus informed his disciples during the Last Supper that one of them will betray him. When they asked who it would be, Jesus said: “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” He then dipped a piece of bread in a dish and handed it to Judas, identified as the “son of Simon Iscariot.” After Judas received the piece of bread, “Satan entered into him.”
The author Sarah PRUITT in her article, "Why Jesus Was Betrayed by Judas Iscariot Once one of Jesus’s most trusted disciples, Judas became the poster child for treachery and cowardice," says: "From the moment he plants a kiss on Jesus of Nazareth in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot sealed his own fate: to be remembered as history’s most famous traitor."
I would like to conclude my reflections of Judas the Betrayer and the Traitor from the following viewpoints of Professor B. URAGUCHI, A.M.., Professor in Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, from his article entitled: PSYCHOLOGY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT." Who says, “Considered by psychological analysis his personality presents a mental condition very similar to the common consciousness of present-day people, and to the sympathetic student of human nature, it contains much that is nourishing to the spiritual life. Some have regarded him as a most inhuman devil. According to their simple logic, as a Chinese proverb says, "The worst form of ingratitude is to betray one's teacher, while it is still worse to betray one's master."
The author continues in the article, “It was at the time of Simon's feast held at Bethany when Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with a valuable ointment of spikenard.” According to this writer, “it was Judas alone who found fault with this act of Mary's as wasteful of ointment. "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor ?" The reason given by the writer for this murmur is "because he was a thief, and having the bag, took away what was put therein." On the other hand, Matthew remarks that the disciples showed indignation at this deed, and Mark says that there were some that murmured against her. These three different accounts given by the three different writers are of important consequence upon the estimate of Judas' character. In short, it is the Fourth Gospel alone that considers the alleged avarice of Judas as the preparatory factor of his act of betrayal. It seems that the writer of this Gospel was a man of the intellectual type who could not leave any problem unsolved and that he had not much direct knowledge of Judas himself.
JUDAS THE CO-OPERATIVE CONSPIRER
It was at the table of the Last Supper that Jesus made for the first time an open announcement of the betrayal. This occurred three days after the curse of the barren fig tree description. As one of the facts recorded in all the four Gospels, no one can doubt the reality of the fact itself. To the disciples, this open announcement was a sort of abrupt revelation, something like a bolt from the blue. There is, however, another question of more vital consequence in our study of Judas Iscariot. That is the question, ‘What motive had he for his resolution?’ Supposing that he conspired with the priests after the Bethany feast, his motive was not at all the mental reaction coming out of dissatisfied avarice, as is popularly supposed.
If Judas' conspiracy with the chief priests was concluded on the Tuesday evening of Passion Week, we find still more data for our inference concerning the real motive of his betrayal. “(...)., Judas Iscariot suffered much from this unsettled state of mind.”
BETRAYAL, TRAITORSHIP and OWNING THE RESPONSIBILITY:
Judas Iscariot recognized his blunder is confirmed by his own confession recorded in Matt. 27:4 that Jesus was righteous. No sooner had he perceived this than he was ready to hold himself fatally responsible for his deed. At the same time, his mind turned to the question of how to dispose of thirty pieces of silver he had received. Here we have to observe, above all, his character as a man of inflexible austerity, whose mind worked quickly and systematically upon the basis side of any question. The subjective side of his aim in the betrayal was more for deliverance from his own mental miseries than for the bribe from the priests. Accidental evidence of this is in the amount of silver offered. “His business-like management of the affair has in it something really admirable, judged by the standard of Japanese Bushido. His suicide was his method of honorably discharging his own responsibilities for the betrayal. But before he took this step he undertook to return the sum to the chief priests and elders. Pitiable were those who could not understand his noble intention but refused to receive the money out of a mean suspicion that he was thus attempting to evade his own responsibility.“
In concluding, I would like to sum up the intentions, deeds, and actions of Judas ISCARIOT the betrayer of the goodness and spiritual nobility of Jesus thus: Every betrayer and betraying attitude and traitor ship springs from the indwelling deep-rooted Bitterness of the heart of the betrayer. What is really interesting is that this 'Bitterness,' can never have it's finality and the purpose for which it was intended as it is very evident in the case of Jesus' resurrection.
(To be continued with the INNOCENT and PENITENT BETRAYAL of PETER)
Your Loving Shepherd Servant,
Fr. Joseph AMAL SDB., Parish Priest