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Jesus and Judas - Weekday Homily Video

Jesus and Judas - Weekday Homily Video

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Today, known as "Spy Wednesday," commemorates the day of betrayal when Judas agreed to hand Jesus over to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver (the price of a slave at that time). The Gospel of Matthew narrates this event. We learn that Judas was seeking an opportunity to betray his master. We also learn how Jesus planned to celebrate His last Passover supper with his disciples in a house prearranged by Him. During the meal, Jesus declared that one of his disciples would betray him and hinted that it was Judas.



What comes to mind when you hear the name Judas? Most of us think of betrayal first—Judas the betrayer who struck a deal with the authorities and sold Jesus out.

The second thing that comes to mind is a sense of relief. The disciples gazed at one another, uncertain which one was the betrayer. "Lord, who is it?" one asks, but they all want to know. Judging by their uncertainty and questions, it could have been any one of them. When Jesus gave Judas the piece of bread, I'm sure Peter and the others breathed a sigh of relief.

Did you ever sit in a class knowing the teacher would call on someone and hoped it wouldn't be you? Have you ever been called to a meeting after something went wrong, and the boss asked, "Who...?" and everyone looked around? Have you ever been in a situation where you knew someone would be named and picked and held your breath, hoping it was anyone but you? And do you remember that sense of relief when it was someone else, not you? And you said to yourself, "Whew, that was a close call."


More to Judas' Story


The only time we hear about Judas in the scriptures is at the end of the story. It is well known that Judas betrayed Jesus at the end of the story, but what about Judas at the beginning? Would you want someone to say a single event defines who you are, who you've always been, and who you will always be? No. But that's what we've done to Judas, people in our lives, and sometimes ourselves. Nobody is made of just one event, not Judas, you, or me.

Judas' name appears eighteen times in all four gospels. Nine times, he is identified as the traitor who betrays Jesus. And the other nine times, he is identified as one of the twelve, one of the chosen, a disciple. What did Judas feel the day he was chosen and numbered among the twelve? How did he feel when Jesus called him? In Jesus, what promise did he seek and follow? What was entrusted to him other than handling the money bag?


Trust Precedes Betrayal


There is always an entrustment before a betrayal. It is impossible to betray unless you are given something to betray: love, friendship, trust, confidence, and responsibility.

A promise or a call always comes with a risk of betrayal. Every promise is made and accepted with the risk of not being fulfilled. Before Judas was ever the betrayer, he was an entrusted one. Aren't we all? We've all been entrusted with something, and we all carry the risk that we might betray that entrusted.

That's the story of Judas. It's our story, too. He is an image of ourselves. He holds before us the tension between trust and betrayal, a tension that lives within us and within which we live.

Don't make this into a judgment, good or bad, right or wrong. Just recognize the complexities and contradictions that constitute our lives, that constituted Judas' life. Let that inform and guide how you want to live.

One last thing about Judas. Like the other disciples, his feet were washed. Jesus loved him as much as the others. With all the complexities and contradictions of his life, he had a seat at the table with Jesus. And so do we.

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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.