FAITH, LOVE, AND JUDAS


"Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’” (Jn 12: 3-8)

Many important things can be said about Judas’s motivation for betraying Christ. I just want to note one thing, however, which strikes me today in this passage: Judas did not trust the Lord, because Judas did not love Him. While the other disciples also lack faith at times; also misunderstand His words at times; and even abandon Him and deny Him as He is led to His death, - still, they love Him. This love is what keeps the door open for their healing, for the restoration of their faith, whenever their human shortcomings had diminished their faith.

But in Judas’s case, his particular set of shortcomings finds no healing, because his heart is closed to the Lord. When Judas finally regrets his sin, this regret does not turn to healing, to repentance, based on love for this Person, Jesus Christ; it turns to self-loathing and suicide. “I have sinned,” he says, not because I betrayed Jesus, my beloved Lord, but because I have betrayed “innocent blood.” (Mt 27: 4) So distanced is Judas from the Person, that He doesn’t call Him by name.

Today let me open my heart to the Lord, Who calls me to come out of self-preoccupation, and accompany Him on His cross-carrying journey, in His love. Because love connects me with Him, even when faith and understanding fail.

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