Grace to you!
Judas’ role in the last days of the early life of Jesus Christ the Lord is one of the most regrettable in the New Testament. It’s the height of betrayal motivated by greed. A reflection based on the character of Judas could help us appreciate the dangers implicit in approaching God with wrong intentions. This is a follow-up to yesterday’s reflection.
The people of Judah were very skilled in financial management. Judas was from Judah. In fact, he was the only Judean among the apostles. It seems natural that Jesus would use his talents in the area he was best suited—treasurer.
To use a person for what he or she is best suited is a blessing. It brings out the best in the person and prevents resentful conflicts in the organization. Our natural talents and strengths help us to maximize the area of human services which only we can effectively fulfill. This in itself is good stewardship.
However, our greatest temptations come in that area or aspects of our life where we are most gifted. The very sin connected with good financial stewardship, that is the vice opposed to it, is avarice (greed)—which could lead to fraud and other financial misappropriation.
The most trusted of the apostles was equally the most exposed to betrayal. Judas allowed his natural gifts to be thwarted for evil. Inside his heart, there seems to be a deep-seated vulnerability to greed which he covered with pretentions innocence. He wore the cloak of a social justice activist for the poor. Whereas he was driven by greed.
Where there is greed, there are likely no limits to betrayal. Where there is greed, a dagger could be stabbed in the back from within the family by a family member.
Isn’t it sad that like the case of Judas, the greatest wounds caused the Church come not from the laity, but from within the ranks and file of Church leadership? Judas was among the top and there are many Judases today as well.
Pray for us Church leaders. Let’s pray for one another for the grace to overcome the temptation to greed.
During this Holy Week, let us be conscious of the dangers inherent in lack of focusing on using our talent for the Lord and preventing the enemy from misdirecting it to something negative, especially due to greed.
Greed is a terrible vice capable of betraying Jesus in our hearts by pursuing a thing instead of a person—the Lord Jesus—in our faith–journey. The greatest victory over greed is learning from Jesus, drawing from the picture of the crucifixion, a constant reminder that none of us goes home with stuff. In hope, we return to God the way we came—naked.
I pray for the grace of contentment and positive use of our gifs and strengths. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday of Holy Week: Is 50:4-9a; Mt 26:14-25]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections for the season of Lent your individual spiritual edification. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations. .