The initial scene in our Gospel reading today is overwhelming
in its treachery. The betrayal of the savior of the world by one of
his closest followers for thirty pieces of silver is incomprehensible.
We wonder how Judas could have been that mercenary, that conniving, that
I would opine that Judas’ perfidy was the result of failure to understand.
What kind of Messiah was Judas expecting? It would seem that the Messiah
was not a spiritual figure for Judas but rather the concept that had evolved
of a military, royal figure who would restore Israel to greatness among the
nations. I would imagine that Judas, as close follower, pictured himself
in high place in such a kingdom. Thus Jesus’ message of loving one’s
enemies, concern for the poor and so forth was probably nonsense to Judas.
His disillusionment then gave way to greed.
Judas also failed to understand Jesus on a far deeper level. His
subsequent despairing end indicated his failure to understand the forgiveness
of Jesus. The tragedy of Judas’ life was not that he betrayed Jesus
but that he did not ask for forgiveness. Judas failed to realize that
our God is a loving and forgiving God.
We might look at this Gospel passage and fail to identify with it.
On a gentler scale, what kind of savior am I looking for? One that
will keep challenge and hardship out of my life or, hopefully, dispatch a
miracle to resolve any such problems? Do I realize that the value of
suffering consists in the lessons to be learned from it? I may not reject
, but do I simply ignore those areas of the Christian message that appear
too challenging? Again, on a gentler scale, we can identify with Judas.
Judas’ failure in understanding must not be ours. Each person must
ask the question: What kind of God do I pray to? The redemptive events
of Holy Week supply the answer: Our God is a loving and forgiving God.