There’s a great little saying that has been handed around Catholics recently. “You shouldn’t leave Jesus, because of Judas.” It came very much to the fore a few days ago when I heard someone phone in Catholic radio and openly admit that she had left the Church because she fell out with her parish priest! Many people claim they left the Church and abandoned Jesus in the Tabernacle, because of something a priest or religious did.
Judas was chosen by Christ to be one of the twelve. He was chosen to be one of the first bishops, fathers and teachers of the Church; to preach the Gospel and bring the Sacraments to all the nations. Jesus knew what Judas was going to do – but Jesus chose him anyway. He chose him and gave him every opportunity to not do what he was going to do. But he went ahead and sold Jesus anyway.
Don’t just look at Judas and see some tool, a “bad guy” who had to do what he did or Jesus would never have died for us. That’s not true. There could very well have been a moment for the Sanhedrin to get Jesus arrested and killed. It could have happened without Judas’ help. But it didn’t. He chose to turn away from the call to be a bridegroom, to be a Christ (in persona Christie) and instead divorced himself from Jesus and His Church and became an Anti-Christ.
Not one person turned away from the Church because of Judas back then.
We have our warning. There will be Judas’s in the priesthood, and religious and laity. There will be wheat and tares in the Church and they will be allowed to stay there.
How often have we heard the actual words of Judas repeated by people who dare to call themselves Christian? How often do they sneer angrily at the beautiful churches and art work that the Church holds like Mary’s alabaster jar? And they say, “It should be sold and given to the poor!”
How many of the people who spout the words of Judas have done anything significant to help the poor themselves?
I love that St Francis of Assisi who gave everything he had away, insisted that while he and his fellow Franciscans must live in poverty, that the churches with the Mass items and vestments but be of the very best material – for as Abel knew, God is worthy of the very best we can give Him.
We need to remember that we are supposed to come with the alabaster jar and fall at His feet in gratitude, not sneer at His followers who aren’t doing what we want. That’s what Judas did.