Dear brothers and sisters,
Peace be with you!
At Easter we are invited to meditate upon a striking contra-distinction. On one hand we have Judas who betrays Jesus and on the other, the attitude of Jesus himself.
We read in the gospel of St. Matthew: "Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said: ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’. They paid him thirty pieces of silver" (Mt 26:14-15).
Why did Judas betray Jesus? We are not told what went on in his mind. We know from the gospel of St. John that Judas "was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions" (Jn 12:6). So Judas’ problem was his attachment to money, which became the center and purpose of his life.
This invites us to personally reflect on our own attitude towards money. Sometimes, because of money, families are divided and fall into a blind hatred against each other. At other times, money is the cause of people being dishonest in their jobs; they look only for money. Judas is not worse than us.
However, Judas had a role: his very action begins the Passion of Jesus. He is the instrument of God to initiate the way to Calvary from which our Salvation came. We know also that Judas repented of his betrayal. We read in the gospel of St. Mathew: "Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying: ‘I have sinned in betraying innocent blood" (Mt 27:3-4).
So, Judas had a personal sin, his love for money, but at the same time God chose him to start the Paschal Mystery: Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which gave us eternal life. This said, we cannot judge Judas, only God can judge him.
Jesus reveals Judas’ betrayal during the Last Supper, when Judas was at table with him. Jesus did not condemn Judas, he simply said: "What you are going to do, do quickly" (Jn 14:27). Jesus gave himself totally for us: "This is my body that is for you… This cup is the new covenant in my blood" (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). At the end of his life Jesus will say from the cross: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34).
Dear brothers and sisters, I wish for all of us to have the attitude of Jesus: forgiveness for all. This is the best way to celebrate Easter.
God loves you!
+ Camillo Ballin, mccj
Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia)