April 01, 2015
Wednesday, Holy Week
1st Reading: Is 50:4–9a
Gospel: Mt 26:14–26
Then 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)
The Judas controversy is really about God’s respect for human freedom, not about Jesus’ failure of discernment when he chose his Apostles. While it is true that the devil entered Judas, the choice was still his because up to the last minute Jesus appealed to his sense of loyalty. He ignored Jesus and chose to betray him. Jesus could have ordered the other Apostles to arrest him. But Jesus respected Judas’ decision. In God’s economy of salvation, good and evil people alike can exercise freedom without God’s intervention.
But God’s respect for human freedom entails great responsibility on our part. In the case of Judas, he was responsible for the decision he made in the exercise of his freedom. That is why we cannot support theories exculpating Judas like the role-play theory. According to this theory Judas was only playing a preordained role of villain in a drama of salvation already predetermined by God. To maintain that Judas was only playing a predetermined role is to believe in predestination. This will reduce us to puppets controlled by a mighty hand up above. We are no slaves subject to manipulation in the hand of a master who is a user. We are God’s children endowed with the gift of freedom.
Each time we abuse our freedom we let loose the Judas in us. Let us hang this Judas on a tree today so that with the Man who died for us on a tree we may rise one day in victory on resurrection day. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father grant us the grace of repentance so that in this season of Lent we may resolve never to squander the gift of grace which we have received at baptism. Grant this though Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Celso. He was born in 1079 and at age 26 he was appointed Bishop of Armagh by virtue of hereditary succession His life of holiness and great ability to bring out reforms in the Church attracted others to join him in his mission. He presided over the synod of Rath Bresail attended by fifty bishops who worked hard to bring into line the Irish Church with the other churches of Europe. He also rebuilt the Armagh Cathedral. True to his reputation as a reformer, he broke the hereditary succession of the Diocese of Armagh; he appointed his Archdeacon, St. Malachy, as Archbishop of Armagh before his death on April 1, 1129. He died at the age of fifty