Holy Week: Judas with the bag…

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-Holy Wednesday-

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.  Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.  (Luke 22: 1-6)

In the story of Judas betraying Jesus, we sometimes focus so much on the betrayer that we lose sight of the betrayal.  And by focusing on the betrayer instead of the betrayal, we separate him from us and elevate him over whom he betrays as Chesterton points out below.  We are wise not to forget that this simple act was accomplished  merely with trust, a kiss, and connections for money.  The same features of business transactions most of us use everyday, although we might replace the kiss with a handshake.  It would not be a stretch to say that most of us do not think of betrayal when we go about bringing  home a salary or transacting a negotiation.  But from a global perspective, we really don’t know where the money comes from that pays us.  We really don’t know what has happened in between this gold being generated and our getting it into our hands and into our bank accounts where it is used even further for shadowy things of which we know only the briefest of accounting.  To know for sure where it came from, we’d have to, as they say, follow the money trail.  All we know is that we have made good if society finds us solvent in paying our bills when requested and rich as to the ownership of many things.

“The phrase “making good,” merely because it contains the word “good,” always carries some shadowy suggestion that the man who has merely done well for himself must also have done really well; done well as in the old creeds and codes of morals; done well in the sight of God and humanity. And that is not merely immorality, it is blasphemy; for it is practically saying that the selfish man is the saint, and Judas with the bag is greater than Jesus with the Cross

– G. K. Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, January 23, 1932

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