Today is Spy Wednesday, so called because this is the day in which Judas Iscariot snuck off to the Sanhedrin to negotiate the price and seal the deal to betray Jesus Christ to be murdered.
Oftentimes in art, Judas Iscariot is depicted as ugly, almost to the point of physical deformity, with a super-heavy brow, beady eyes, etc. While one can certainly understand this iconographical approach, I think in these dark days it is more salutary for us to look upon Judas Iscariot as he almost certainly was – a perfectly normal-looking man. Folks, evil people in this world don’t walk the streets drooling, with teeth filed to points. It is generally difficult to pick out most evil people by sight. In fact, as I think more and more people are waking up to the fact, evil oftentimes presents itself as completely pedestrian, and not uncommonly as attractive.
Consider the fact that at the Last Supper, the Apostles had no idea which one of them would betray Our Lord. It isn’t as if Our Lord spoke of the betrayer, and everyone in the room turned and looked at Judas Iscariot. In fact, St. John says in his Gospel that even when Judas got up to leave after Jesus said to him, “That which thou dost, do quickly,” most of the Apostles thought that Our Lord had sent Judas out to either buy supplies, or to do some work of charity.
I’d like to take it a step further and put forth the possibility that when all is revealed at the General Judgment and we are all able to see EVERYTHING, that it is possible that Judas Iscariot will have appeared to have been both pious and humanly attractive. Further, I think that it is very possible that when we see all of Judas’ interactions with Our Lord, including private interactions, conversations, etc., over the course of Our Lord’s ministry and Judas’ time with Him as an Apostle, AND Judas’ interactions and relationship with the Blessed Mother (have you ever considered Judas with regards to Mary?) that it will become clear just exactly how deep and profound Judas’ betrayal was. Because remember, Judas didn’t merely walk away. Judas sold Our Lord TO BE MURDERED with full malice aforethought for today’s equivalent of approximately $500.
Why? Two things. First, as we see all around us today, Judas lusted after power. Second, Judas was EMBARRASSED by Our Lord. This all came to a head when Our Lord gave the Bread of Life discourse as recorded in John 6, explaining the Eucharist, and that He was about to institute the Eucharist whereby people would literally – not symbolically, not figuratively, but LITERALLY – eat Our Lord’s Body, Blood Soul and Divinity. Judas lusted for earthly temporal power, and had all kinds of visions and plans for Jesus overthrowing the Roman occupation and that he, Judas would be made a prince of the land, with all the power that goes with it. When Our Lord gave the Bread of Life discourse and all of the thousands of people got up and left, saying that Our Lord was insane and/or demonic, and Judas saw his planned power base and political ambitions going up in smoke, he was enraged. He was further, and perhaps even more enraged because he was EMBARRASSED by the Eucharist, as so very, very many people – most especially clerics and prelates – are today. I cover this in the essay, “THEY DON”T ACTUALLY BELIEVE ANY OF THAT BULL****.
So, still lusting after power, Judas decided that the thing to do was to get Jesus out of the way, which is to say dead, and then walk back and totally eliminate all of Jesus’ crazy-pants talk, especially the insane parts about the Eucharist, and then he, Judas, could “re-found” the movement and be its glorious leader.
By the way, is this ringing any bells? Sounding familiar at all?
Let me help you – remember that Judas Iscariot was always going on about “the poor” because he kept the money box, and was a money-grubbing thief.
And so, Judas decided that Jesus had to be eliminated. Filled with rage and spite from the embarrassment of the Eucharistic discourse, Judas went to the Sanhedrin and negotiated the price and terms. Judas’ priority clearly was NOT getting rich off the Sanhedrin deal. No, he was playing long ball. He just wanted Jesus dead, and then the REAL MONEY would come flowing in. So, Judas low-balled the offer – $500. The Sanhedrin took the offer and the deal was sealed.
Which brings us to today. Do you want to get an idea of how normal Judas looked, how benign, how pious, even? Well, that’s easy. Go look in the mirror. Every time we sin, we are selling Jesus Christ unto death on the Cross, and selling Him cheap. What is your price? What is my price?
Is it your salary?
Is it your estate?
Is it your planned future earnings as you slither up the ladder of “career advancement”?
Or is it even cheaper than that? Is your price mere human respect and personal popularity?
Is your price hits on your website? Or likes on Facebook? How about clicks on your “Donate” button?
Is your price an orgasm, or several decades of orgasms?
Is your price as low as not having to actually get dressed and do anything?
As with Judas Iscariot, it is so very simple to undo our treasons against Christ – go to Him, confess and repent. In fact, Judas did return the $500 to the Sanhedrin – that part was done. How many people today refuse to do even that, or are choosing to believe the transparent lies from on high that their sins aren’t sins if they themselves “discern” that they aren’t, or worse yet, that God positively wills that they continue in their sins?
Judas knew and fully acknowledged that what he had done was wrong. All Judas had to do from there was go to Our Lord and ask His forgiveness and mercy, and it would have come without hesitation. All he had to do was get within shouting distance, which he could have. Judas could have literally gone to Calvary and been absolved by Christ as He hung on the Cross. The greatest sin ever committed, deicide, could have been wiped away, and Judas could have gone on to be a saint and the ultimate example of the penitent and forgiven sinner, the ultimate example of Christ’s mercy, far beyond Mary Magdalen.
But no. Judas murdered himself, and thus freely, and completely unnecessarily chose hell.
We’ve all sold Our Lord, and for far less than Judas’ piddly $500. We can all see ourselves in Judas. Is it not time to take our “$500” and throw it back at the Sanhedrin, and then sprint to the foot of the Cross, confess to Him, and receive His Mercy? If not now, when?
I hope this helps.
Christ, have mercy on us.