Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"God's Justice and Judas"

I have been going nuts trying to think of something appropriately Holy Week-ish to post.  Finally I gave up trying to come up with something original, and headed over to Tradition in Action, which is often quite helpful in the way of providing articles for me to steal - er, borrow, pictures and all - and shamelessly repost.  (You all seem to be rather against clicking links, so I don't really have a choice, do I? Right???)

Today, as you may or may not know, is Spy Wednesday, named for Judas' "spying" on Our Lord, apparently.  I'm not really sure how that works, since Jesus treated him as if nothing was doesn't really seem like he'd need to spy.  But whatever.  That's what it's called. I'm probably missing a vital piece of information or something...I'm not feeling very intelligent today.
Anyway, I thought this was a very interesting and enlightening article.  Hopefully you will too.

God's Justice and Judas
Never did the love of God express itself in a more pungent and tender way than when Our Lord spoke to Judas in the Garden of Olives. The guards did not know how to distinguish Our Lord from St. James the Greater who was very similar to Christ. So, they needed someone to unmistakably point Him out so they could take Him prisoner. Judas agreed with the Pharisees to deliver Our Lord for the price of 30 silver coins. The arranged sign of recognition was a kiss.

The kiss of Judas by Giotto
"With a kiss you betray the Son of Man?"
When Judas approached Our Lord to kiss Him, Christ said to him: “Judas, with a kiss you betray the Son of Man?” He allowed Judas to kiss Him. He could have easily prevented that scene. The power to stop it was not lacking to Him.

Indeed, a few moments later, when the guard asked Him: “Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” He answered: “I am.” After He spoke those words, all the guards fell with their faces to the ground because they could not bear the majesty of His Person. He could have averred Judas from his purpose with a simple gaze. But He did not.

He said: “Judas, with a kiss?” Each word was simultaneously an act of love and of wrath. “Judas, with a kiss?” That is to say, “Judas, you chose the symbol of friendship and love to come to betray Me.” “You who bring your face close to Mine, do you not remember all the graces I gave you? You whom I consecrated Bishop some hours ago…?” In that act, Our Lord reminded Judas of all the good he once had. It was, therefore, a supreme act of love.

But Our Lord added these words: “Do you betray the Son of Man?” Christ also brought to his attention the enormity of his ignominy. In fact, nothing could be more infamous than that treason, precisely because of its injustice. One friend owes friendship to another. Instead, Judas had hatred for Him. Further, Judas simulated the appearance of friendship to make the worst possible action. In that action, evil was multiplied by evil, making his act of betrayal particularly repulsive.

Ego sum, by Fra Angelico
The soldiers fall powerless at the words of Our Lord
It was not a simple treason: Judas was delivering God Incarnate to death… Further, Our Lord knew that Judas was planning such a betrayal and, in the name of mercy, did not send him away, but remained silent. To the crime of delivering Jesus Christ to Deicide, the traitor added the abuse of His mercy and silence.

I believe that in all of History nothing was more terrible than that recrimination. He was offering Judas the grace of repentance. If Judas would have repented, who knows what would have happened? He could have had a most edifying life and death. But he rejected that last sublime invitation. From that moment on, the hatred of God fell directly upon him.

The justice of God acted in such a way that Judas’ name became synonymous with the ultimate degree of infamy. When someone wants to throw the vilest possible epithet at a person, he calls him a Judas. This is how the action and very person of Judas became execrable to all.

Describing Hell in his famous work Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri places Judas at the lowest level, in the very mouth of Satan, being eternally gnawed by him. It is an unspeakable torment: No one even sees his face but only the despairing movements of his legs that protrude from Satan’s mouth.

We know how Judas ended. After the betrayal, he went back to the Pharisees to return the 30 coins, but no one wanted that cursed money. He left the Sanhedrim and wandered in torment for a while through the city. Finally, he found a rope and hung himself on a fig tree. He judged himself, knowing that he would go to Hell, the place he wanted to be. It was a choice made for all eternity.


  1. That was very well explaned!I did not know it was called Spy Wednesday, that is very interesting. Have a blessed Easter!

    1. Thank you, Cassandra! I hope you and your family are having a blessed Easter too!


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