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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Someone is Betraying

"Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor."

(Luke 6:16 NKJV)

The events of Jesus, like most of the biblical stories, are studded with stories of men and women who are not always examples of virtue. In providing us with the list of the twelve chosen by the Master to follow him, Luke does not hesitate to immediately tell us what the role of one of them will be. Judas was chosen from the first hour to be one of the twelve, he was not born a traitor, nor was he at the time of being chosen: unfortunately he became one later. Over time, many have tried to play his role and the reason for his betrayal. The Gospels give us little information about him: he had been entrusted with the common bag of the group; in Bethany he complained about the waste of the precious perfume poured by Mary on Jesus' feet, not because "not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it" (John 12:6 ). To the chief priests he will make an explicit proposal: "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" (Matthew 26:15).

Everything seems to boil down to an economic question, for the series “everything has a price”. The most banal of explanations, but the most truthful. The Master himself had exhorted to make a choice: either God, or Mammon (Matthew 6:24). Mammon, money, "the idol of molten metal", is not one of the many idols that we can erect or interpose between us and God, but it is the one par excellence, the one who becomes master and enslaves, the one that focuses everything on self. In fact, he is probably God's true antagonist in this world. It might sound strange to some, but no one decides to serve Satan without gain. Those who do so believe they are gaining some temporal power or benefit. How many must have been experienced by the apostle Paul to signal to the young disciple that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:10). Not just a social evil, a cancer that destroys everything around us, but a worm that deviates from faith, that is, faith is manipulated or defaced for an economic interest, raising the Molek (Moloch) on duty as in the time of Jeremiah, to to whom young men and women were sacrificed (32:35).

Judas asked to quantify a price. Anyone can betray Jesus for anything other than a dirty sum of money. One can betray Christ not only by betraying one's spouse, but by betraying one's vocation, becoming unfaithful to his ministers, shepherding oneself rather than the flock entrusted, slaughtering the sheep instead of looking after them. We betray the Lord every time we "rape" our conscience, silencing our mouth, turning our gaze elsewhere. Who is without sin... I myself can betray him right now, if I am concerned with gaining the approval of the readers, rather than transferring the message of the Gospel. I tremble at this possibility. Differently from Judas, and in a more complete way, today we know who Jesus is: the Son of God. Here then we have to deal with that "Judas" who is part of us, who lives within us, and is not still surrendered to Christ, before anyone reveals it. In fact, after the Passover meal, Jesus reveals to the disciples that there was a traitor among them. The hunt for the suspect began immediately among those present, but it didn't last long. In fact, rather than investigating themselves, they find it more interesting to find out who would take the place of the Master. The pressing search for the "leadership role" is also a betrayal.

Jesus knows the danger and gives them other indications (Luke 22:24-28). After he took a basin and a towel and began to wash the feet of those present (John 13:4-5). Only Peter resisted, having fully understood who it was who was making that gesture. While elsewhere the traitor was preparing to carry out his plan, Jesus assumes the attitude of a servant to the point of giving his life for us. The apostle Peter reminds us that we were not bought with gold or silver but with the most precious blood of the Lamb (1 Peter 1:19). In those days a person paid a sum of money to have possession over the slave's life. We have become of him and now we belong to him. We are called to serve others with love, to reach out to those in need. The one who serves extends his hand to give and not to take. Whoever does it to grab is not trustworthy and we must distance ourselves from him.


Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 22

May 23, 1 Chronicles 19-21; John 8:1-27

May 24, 1 Chronicles 22-24; John 8:28-59

May 25, 1 Chronicles 25-27; John 9:1-23

May 26, 1 Chronicles 28-29; John 9:24-41

May 27, 2 Chronicles 1-3; John 10:1-23

May 28, 2 Chronicles 4-6; John 10:24-42

May 29, 2 Chronicles 7-9; John 11:1-29

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