5th Sunday of Easter Homily
To be Judas, or not to be Judas, that is the Question!
The betrayal of Judas may not have surprised some of the Apostles who noted his complaint about money being wasted anointing the feet of Jesus. John noted: He said this because he was a thief. It would seem that Judas - had not really understood what Jesus was trying to teach him or allowed the Holy Spirit to enter his heart and transform him.
Despite seeing the miracles of Jesus and living with Him - Judas managed to resist the promptings of grace and remained cold-hearted at worst - indifferent at best. The lure of the things of this world, money or power, triumphed over true Christian discipleship in the heart of Judas. And perhaps like most of us - Judas had mixed motivations: some good and altruistic – AND - some sinful and selfish. Remember the older days: Angel on one shoulder and a Devil on the other shoulder. Sadly – the Devil and sin appears to have won over the heart of Judas.
The other Apostles however – thankfully – even with their weaknesses and failures at times did their best to understand the teachings of Jesus and they were open to the Holy Spirit entering their hearts to transform them.
Jesus teaches His Apostles a New Commandment - which demands a NEW type of love. He mentions His own love in this New Commandment: I give you a new commandment: love one another: just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. Jesus willingly endures the suffering of His Passion to free us from sin and death . . . so that by the power of His Resurrection we may experience redemption, salvation and eventually eternal life.
But this self sacrificing way of love is not pointless suffering. Under the humble appearance of loving service to our brothers and sisters each day is the way of glory. The letting go of the selfish ego to embrace God and neighbor - is the way of true freedom and transfiguration. The glorification of Jesus occurred in that moment of supreme self-giving upon the Cross.
We too share this glory when each day we respond to the promptings of grace in loving others and ignore the temptation to selfishness and hardness of heart. In the wonderful words of Mother Teresa: I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.