Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.

Ps 146:3

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Fr. Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C., has a nice and thoughtful piece in The Bible Today which revisits Judas in an instructive way, an instructive way particularly for our times.

In it, Fr. Nicholas suggests that Judas may have had a political motive for his deceitful actions to assist the Temple priests and keepers of the Law in their apprehension of Jesus.

Specifically, Fr. Nicholas suggests that it would be in character for Jews of that day to expect God to present a messiah who would “bring about a new Davidic kingdom and raise up his people (the Jewish people) to oust the Roman occupation” of Jerusalem, their holy city.

In his article, Fr. Nicholas sees Judas as a believer who conspired in the arrest of Jesus so to promote a righteous rebellion. In short, Judas acted politically. Betrayal born of the primacy of politics and power, this mortal world and its mundane desires.

Yes, this is a very plausible explanation and, perhaps, this is a lesson for today.

Recall the temptations of Jesus in the desert.  One was to rule all the kingdoms in the world at the price of submission to Satan.  Jesus, of course, refused for God was his ruler and the mundane kingdoms of this life were nothing compared to God and God’s Kingdom.  The lesson: God above all, politics and power included.

Could it be that Judas plays an instrumental part in the important caution that politics and the quest for earthly power pushes God aside, for it is Satan’s domain? Satan, after all, has no heavenly kingdom.

Think about it.  Look around you.  In politics do you see Satan?  The misguided zeal of Judas, at best?  More to the point, do you see your salvation?  A savior?

In princes and mortal man who quest for power and control, ” … spirit departs … thoughts perish” while, without God at the center, the human’s ambition, pride and guile grows – and folly results.

God may be leaving us a clarion warning in Judas.  Are not Judas’ deeds one of the last and most pivotal actions in our religious narrative – a betrayal inspired by a political and mundane view of life?

Shalom.

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