Judas Betrays Jesus
April 17, 2019
Wednesday, Holy Week
1st Reading: Is 50:4–9a
Gospel: Mt 26:14–25
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went off to the chief priests and said, “How much will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver, and from then on he kept looking for the best way to hand him over to them.On the first day of the Festival of the Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” Jesus answered, “Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him: ‘The Master says: My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples in your house.’”The disciples did as Jesus had ordered and prepared the Passover meal.When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you: one of you will betray me.” They were deeply distressed and asked him in turn, “You do not mean me, do you, Lord?”He answered, “He who will betray me is one of those who dips his bread in the dish with me. The Son of Man is going as the Scriptures say he will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man; better for him not to have been born.” Judas, who was betraying him, also asked, “You do not mean me, Master, do you?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
We thought Judas lent his name with finality to all villains of every generation. Surprisingly some have risen to his defense, arguing that he was only playing a predetermined role. We don’t agree for three reasons. First, it accuses God of partiality to those assigned the role of villain. Second, it reduces God to a violator of human freedom. Third, the role of a traitor was unnecessary since Jesus was a popular miracle worker known to the arresting officers.
The defenders of Judas will do better if they use the Sicari theory. It proposes that Judas was a member of a revolutionary group called Sicari, loosely translated as sickle. They armed themselves with a sickle, ready to cut the throat of a Roman soldier they’d chance upon. Judas followed Jesus, thinking he was the liberator they were looking for. Surprisingly, Jesus behaved like he did not see the urgency of a revolution. That’s why Judas handed Jesus over to force him to fight back.
But these are mere theories. Did Judas really lend his name to all villains of every generation? Hard facts can guide us better than theories. One hard fact is that Judas committed suicide. In taking his own life he took away from God the power to save him. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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