Saturday, April 07, 2012

'There's a bit of Judas in all us'

Hands down, Judas is the most hated character in the whole passion episode that saw the crucifixion of Jesus.
How everyone, probably from the time of the Lord up to contemporary times, points at him as the cause of Jesus's death. And they might add to say that he deserves to be in hell, where his soul is assumed to be now.
I was on the same belief. Until this Holy Wednesday. A priest sermoned that while Judas could have fallen down the pits, he could have as well obtained the Lord's mercy and could be in His company right now.
This is to say that the most despised, most judged disciple was not an unfortunate case at all. This Good Friday, a bishop explained on a television program that Judas also loved the Lord. In the Gospel of Mark, the fallen follower instructed the guards to arrest Jesus with care. In the Gospel of Luke, the evangelist wrote about Satan "entering" Judas, perhaps to make a point that the latter was not acting on his behalf. He was a "victim of circumstance."
Going back to the Holy Wednesday sermon, the priest said Judas could have obtained pardon before the rope snapped the life out of him. The Gospel of Mark seems to lend credence to the belief that although Judas betrayed the Lord, it was not for the 30 pieces of silver. The loot has nothing to do with what is thought to be the disgraced disciple's intention - to incite the Jews to rebellion by making the Romans arrest Jesus. But the Jews did not rally behind Jesus to end the Roman rule. Instead, the Lord was condemned to death in a manner and timeframe that even Judas did not expect. So distraught was he of the turn of events that he committed suicide.
Now, when we look at the cross, we only look at Judas as the cause of all these. It was not him, but all of us, because we all have sinned. Jesus accepted that death for each of us.
We point at Judas because that's what we always do - accuse others and forget that we are at fault, too. In looking at Judas, we are actually looking at our own selves.
"There's a bit of Judas in all of us," the Good Friday bishop said. If it's possible that Jesus could have forgiven Judas at such short notice - as He did more explicitly with that criminal on the cross with Him, even more so with each of us who have much more time to reform. Jesus just knew He needed to save Judas, and all the Judases after him. Proactively, He moved way, way ahead and took those painful steps all the way to a shameful death on the cross.

The Cross, my migraine

I had two straight days of migraine, mainly due to the extreme summer heat. On the first, I was able to mitigate the attack by taking a painkiller at the onset, allowing me to make the long drive from Manila to my homeprovince pangasinan for the Lenten break.
On the second, I was completely defenseless. I was there with my folks at the foothills off the western part of the province to do the station of the cross (how would have I declined if I knew it was there).
We were doing the ritual at noontime, the sun was blazing hot and the hills looked like a steppe, save for a few maturing trees that provided little shades against the heat.
Some guys, perhaps the owners of the hills, built really nice stations, depicting the way of Jesus's cross on the hills to the hilltop that provided a view of the dry landscape down the lowlands, including a stream wilted by the summer sun.
There were 10-ft. figures of Jesus in various agony. The farther up the hills we went, the worse the sun torched my head, as if I was feeling Jesus's pain myself.
Yet, looking around the otherwise magnificent mountain architecture, I could see why the Lord had to suffer: the mountains were bare and barren, a testament to man's unbridled abuse of the earth.
That speaks of the destruction man has wrought upon his soul. If he could destroy his environment this way, why can't he of his own self with sins. If he were good in the first place, he would not have made this harm to his environment.
Which was why Jesus had to pass that cross test. I was having a migraine for a day, yet Jesus's head oozed with blood to death, to pay for the sins of this world.