Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spy Wednesday

 Giotto Di Bondone - "Jesus Betrayal" Scenes from the Life of Christ

I know we are lucky to get people to come to church for any of the Triduum services, much less pay any attention to the earlier part of Holy Week.  

Wednesday in Holy Week was known as "Spy Wednesday"  remembering how Judas conspired with the religious authorities to betray Jesus. 

In some places, children drag effigies of Judas around and pound him with sticks.  

Pastor William O Avery, Professor at Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg takes a different tact and suggests we are more like Judas than we care to admit - Below is a link to the whole sermon but I quote the part where he offers up Judas as mirror:

Surprisingly, I think Judas represents us good faithful churched people. We want to follow Jesus just as Judas wanted to. We think we are following Jesus, when we are actually following our image of Jesus. We think our community is living as a foretaste of the Reign of God, when really our community more closely reflects the values of the society around us. Individually and communally, we do, in fact, betray Jesus often. Yet, we can’t accept this. We’re baffled when someone points out that we’re imprisoned by the ways of the world rather than the ways of God. We, like Judas, may even feel betrayed by the good news of Jesus, especially when it doesn’t take away illnesses and suffering in ourselves or our loved ones. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will realize that we’re a great deal like Judas.

Now, notice how the Johannine Jesus responds to Judas. Jesus takes a morsel of bread and dips it in a dish (of wine? Who knows?), and hands it to Judas. Is this a foretaste of the heavenly banquet feast, and is Jesus suggesting that Judas will be at that banquet feast also? Moreover, Judas’ betrayal is not the only one in this chapter. The chapter will end with Jesus predicting that Peter will betray him three times.

I’m suggesting that giving the dipped morsel of bread to Judas is the gospel for him and us. It’s the good news that God loves us not on the basis of our lives, but on the basis of God’s love for us. For the gospel of John, everything occurs on a cosmic scale. It was Satan, we read, who entered into Judas. We have a cosmic battle between good and evil. God is fully at work here, in the clash between good and evil, loving us, as God loved Judas and Peter, apart from their ability to respond. Remember John 3:17: “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” In these verses, Jesus shows the gospel to Judas and to us.

You can read the whole sermon here   Judas & the Beloved Disciple

(update - the link above appears to be dead)

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps it's because I'm a convert, but I've always wondered why, if we believe what we believe, we vilify Judas. He's as essential to the story as any other "bad seed" we find throughout scripture.