Grace to you!
Judas Iscariot's role in the last days of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ 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 reflection is a follow-up to yesterday's
During the time of Jesus, the people from Judah were famous for their expertise in fiscal matters. It was a common view that they were highly skilled in financial management. Judas was from Judah. He was the only Judean among the apostles. It seems natural that the Lord Jesus would use Judas’ talents in the area he was best suited. Hence he appointed him the treasurer.
To use a person for what he or she is best suited is a blessing. Good leadership. 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 that we can effectively fulfill. It is good stewardship too.
However, our greatest temptations come in that area or aspects of our life where we are most gifted. The very vice, which is the opposite of good financial stewardship, is avarice. It is also called greed. Greed could lead to fraud and other financial misappropriations.
The most trusted of the apostles was equally the most exposed to betrayal. The one touted for his financial credibility was similarly the one most vulnerable to avarice. Judas allowed his natural gifts to be thwarted for evil. Perhaps, inside his heart, there was a deep-seated vulnerability to greed, which he covered with pretentious innocence.
Where there is avarice, 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 do not come from the laity, but from within the ranks and file of Church leadership? Judas was among the top. He was trusted much to be appointed the treasurer of the Lord. He betrayed. And there are many Judases today as well in the Church.
If, as they say, pride comes before a fall, greed destroys from within. It adds salt to the injury of the moral wreck and rocks the very root of charity. It eats up the fabric of pure charity and brings the worst of self-centeredness. 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 a lack of refocusing on using our gifts and talents for the Lord and self-less service. We need more spiritual awareness, so as not to misdirect our gifts and blessings to something negative due to greed.
Greed is a terrible vice capable of betraying Jesus in our hearts. It does so by making us pursue a thing such as measurable gifts from the Lord, instead of a person—the Lord Jesus himself.
The greatest victory over greed is learning from the Lord Jesus. We learn from the mystery of the crucifixion. We are detached. We know that none of us goes home with stuff. We return to God, hopefully, the way we came—naked.
I pray for the grace of contentment and positive use of our gifts and strengths. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday of Holy Week: Is 50:4-9a; Mt 26:14-25]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.