Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Patron anti-saint

As I was in the middle of typing my last blog entry, my wife (who's reading "Preparing Yourself for Mass", by Fr. Romano Guardini--good author!) shared a theological observation with me. (Yes, I'm not the only one. She does it too--quite often, in fact... and usually with far less rambling than I use! I'd encourage her to start a blog, if I didn't think it would take the last bits of her spare time, push her beyond her last scrap of endurance, and put her in an asylum for the duration of her natural life. But I ramble...)

She mentioned the story in John 6, where many of Jesus' disciples abandoned Him, because they simply couldn't believe His teaching about the Eucharist (cf. John 6:22-72)... but mentioned something that hadn't struck her until now: remember when, after the mass abandonment, Jesus turned to the twelve and asked, "Do you also wish to leave? (John 6:68)" St. Peter spoke for all of them, in saying "no", but did you notice? Judas Iscariot, the one who would betray Jesus, didn't leave! But the twist comes with Jesus' reply to St. Peter: "Have I not chosen you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil", speaking of Judas. The traitor didn't leave when the unbelievers left. Did that make him a believer?

Let's look at that for a moment. Now, this isn't conclusive--I'm just following my nose, here (with help from Fr. Guardini!), but think about this:

- After St. Peter says, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life, and we have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God!", Jesus follows up with the "Have I not chosen you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! Doesn't this suggest, at least somewhat, that Judas didn't believe? Nothing iron-clad, true... but suggestive.

- Earlier, St. John writes (describing Jesus speaking at the moment when the disciples were about to abandon Him en masse), "'The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some among you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was who should betray Him." (John 6:64-65) Again, nothing provable in a court of law... but again, see the close association with disbelief and betrayal?

- St. John, in his first letter, writes: "[...]many antichrists have arisen [...] They have gone forth from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would surely have continued with us;" (I John 2:18-19) This suggests that, among others, Judas was not "of them" in the sense of being true followers of Christ (i.e. those who believed).

- plain common sense suggests that, if Judas had truly believed Jesus to be the Messiah of God, and the Son of God, he would never have betrayed Him.

So... we have Judas, who (at least according to strong evidence) doesn't believe. That begs a question:

Why didn't he leave?

I wish I could answer that question with certainty; I can't. But I can tell you one thing: we have modern evidence of the same, with every Faux Catholic who walks the earth. They don't believe, but they still don't leave (for many possible reasons, I'm sure). Some seek to remake the Church in their own image. Others truly wish to destroy the Church from within. Others sense the power and authority of the Church of Christ, but want to take (or manipulate) that power for themselves. Still others are too weak, complacent, and comfortable to leave, or even to face their lack of faith. (I was of that number, I'm ashamed to say.)

It would certainly fit. Consider the sense of betrayal felt by the Church as Faux Catholics sacrifice unborn children to Moloch (with the updated name of "Planned Parenthood") for the sake of personal thrills and promised material gain; doesn't it mirror the betrayal felt by Christ as Judas sold Him for thirty pieces of silver? Judas wasn't honest; he didn't leave (or convert). Faux Catholics aren't honest, either; they don't leave (or convert). It looks as if the patron anti-saint of Faux Catholics is none other than Judas Iscariot.

I'd add this: Judas could have repented. He could have gone back, begged forgiveness, and been received back... to the point where we could have had a "St. Judas Iscariot" in the Church martyrology. (It happened with the murderer known as Saul of Tarsus, after all.) Likewise: Faux Catholics can come back. Or, if they refuse to repent, they can embrace honesty, and leave the Church (which is often a large step toward ultimate repentance and reception as a *true* Catholic!). The only thing they can't do, without remaining a Faux Catholic, is remain in the Church while still falling under the condemnation of Christ: "There are some among you who do not believe."

The truth will set you free... but you must embrace it, first.

4 comments:

Ori Pomerantz said...

So... we have Judas, who (at least according to strong evidence) doesn't believe. That begs a question:

Why didn't he leave?


Would you betray a former teacher whom you thought was the anti-Christ? Sorry if the analogy offends you, but for a 1st century Judean it would have made sense. There were dangerous Messiah wannabes all over the place, many of whom got into fights with the Romans. Eventually, things got so bad Judea degenerated into open warfare with Rome, resulting in the death of about a third of the people and the destruction of the temple.

If Judah Iscariot thought Jesus was one such false Messiah, it would have made sense to betray him and save Judea.

paladin said...

Would you betray a former teacher whom you thought was the anti-Christ? Sorry if the analogy offends you, but for a 1st century Judean it would have made sense.

:) No offense taken, to be sure.

That's a fair question--and no, if Judas had become convinced that Jesus was an anti-Christ, I wouldn't have difficulty seeing how Judas might denounce Jesus to the religious authorities. But my question was distinct from that issue: why, if Judas did not believe, did he continue to follow Jesus for *months* after that episode in John 6... especially with the (albeit unnamed) denunciation he received from Jesus at that time? Why didn't he betray Jesus *then*, or at least "take his toys and go home" immediately?

Ori Pomerantz said...

Judas might have been gathering evidence, looking for enough to condemn Jesus. The Bible doesn't show it, but the Pharisee interpretation of Judaism (a.k.a. the Oral Torah) is very much opposed to the death penalty.

LarryD said...

"I'd add this: Judas could have repented. He could have gone back, begged forgiveness, and been received back... to the point where we could have had a "St. Judas Iscariot" in the Church martyrology. (It happened with the murderer known as Saul of Tarsus, after all.)"

Happened to our first Pope, too!