We are all a little bit Judas. Yep, we all have something in common with one of the most infamous characters in all of human history, we all have our 30 pieces of silver. We like to think that Judas was this super evil person, this villain. But in reality, we have no idea what Judas was like, what his personality was. The thing is, Jesus must have thought very highly of him. He was one of His trusted friends, to the point that he controlled their money. But he let his greed and selfish desires come before his love of Jesus, before the love of his teacher, and his friend.
We could say that Judas was the worst person in history, that he betrayed and turned in the Lord, our God, to the authorities. But when you look at it, and think about it, how often do we betray Christ for our own selfish desires? How often do we betray our God and trade our morals, dignity and soul for money, lust, and power? For things that satisfy the short term, but quickly fade away leaving us yearning for more?
Judas was human, he made a big mistake. But he had a purpose. He served a purpose for God, that set things in motion leading to the crucifixion of Jesus and the salvation of all humanity. He played an important part in this whole chain of events, but when Christ learned that it was Judas who was to betray Him, I think Jesus was caught a little off guard. Think about if you’ve ever had someone you love, a friend or a family member betray you. Think about how much that hurts. It’s worse, I think, to be betrayed and hurt by those close to you rather than by random strangers. So Jesus, in His dismay and shock, was disappointed in this revelation, and He makes the statement that, “It would be better for that man if he had never been born…”
Of course the actions of Judas are sinful, on so many levels. He lied. He stole. He betrayed. He was greedy. But we all do this, some more than others, and at varying levels. No, I think the biggest sin that Judas committed was not asking for Christ’s forgiveness, for His mercy. Had Judas followed Him to His cross, came up to Him and begged for forgiveness, the Lord would have forgiven him. I mean, Peter, the rock of the Church, the first Pope, denied Him 3 times. The Apostle Paul, who persecuted and killed many of Christ’s disciples after the resurrection, converted and became one of the greatest Apostles.
But Judas did not seek Christ’s forgiveness. He did not seek Christ’s mercy. This was his biggest mistake. This was his greatest sin. Judas gave in to the guilt, despair, and hopelessness thinking that he could not be forgiven, and he turned away from Christ. Not when he took the 30 pieces of silver, but when he failed to seek his mercy. He clearly did not know who the Man was he followed for 3 years. I think this is the major reason Jesus was so disappointed, that Judas not only was a close friend that betrayed Him, but that he would simply abandon Him to despair and not seek his mercy and forgiveness. I think this is why Christ said it would be better had he not been born. That Judas’ despair was clearly too much for him to handle.
But unfortunately, we often are too much like Judas. Too often, we feel we have done too much, sinned too greatly that we are not worthy of forgiveness. We often fall into that despair where we feel there is no way out, and we lose hope. We are all that prodigal son whom the Lord is waiting for to come home, but yet, we fail to understand that. He forgives unimaginable things, but we have to seek it. We have to ask for it. And all too often, we are simply too afraid, and too proud to ask God to forgive us.
But yet, that is Judas’ purpose. He is the model of humanity and who we are in this world. It pained Jesus to see his friend give in to the world like that. He knew what was going to happen, but perhaps how it happened and who contributed to it, and the fact Judas did not believe who Jesus was and that he could not show him mercy caused Jesus the most pain. But again, this is how God feels about all of us. Sometimes, we are all a little bit Judas. We all have our 30 pieces of silver.
What is your 30 pieces of silver? What is the price with which you betray God in your life? We have just a few more days of Lent. Use these days to really think about that. What are the 30 pieces of silver in your life, those things that prevent you from having a relationship with Christ? Is it your work and career? Is it material things and greed and desire for more? Is it the desire to control life, on your own terms? Is it the daily vices or addictions that control your life?
Now, what are you going to do to trade those 30 pieces of silver in for a better relationship with Christ? Is it more time in prayer? More time at Mass? More time in Adoration? More charity for others? Or better yet, more time in Confession? What are you going to do to trade in your 30 pieces of silver for God’s mercy? Use the rest of Lent to talk with Christ, and ask Him to help you identify it, and then ask for His forgiveness. Don’t fall into despair. Christ loves you, no matter what you do. Judas did not realize this. Let that be our lesson.