THERE is a scene in the Wizard of Oz when the little mutt Toto pulls back the curtain and reveals the truth behind the “Wizard.” So too, in Christ’s Passion, the curtain is drawn back and Judas is revealed, setting in motion a chain of events that scatters and divides the flock of Christ…
THE HOUR OF JUDAS
Pope Benedict gave a powerful insight into Judas that is a window into the Judases of our times:
Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion. But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, “Away with him! Crucify him!” —POPE BENEDICT XVI, catholicnewslive.com
What Benedict is saying is that the rebellious current flowing through Judas’s heart was a spirit of moral relativism. And this, he warns, is the zeitgeist our times…
…a dictatorship of relativism that recognizes nothing as definite, and which leaves as the ultimate measure only one’s ego and desires. Having a clear faith, according to the credo of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. Yet, relativism, that is, letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching’, appears the sole attitude acceptable to today’s standards. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI) pre-conclave Homily, April 18th, 2005
This is the true betrayal at this hour in the world: politicians, educators, scientists, doctors, judges, and yes, clergy, who are caving in to the changing moods and current fashions of our times as they abandon moral absolutes and reject the natural law. The courage to reject this powerful current has been long drained from the hearts of men who have fled the truth as quickly as the Apostles fled the Garden. We can hear once again the desolate words of Pontius Pilate: What is truth? The answer today is the same as that of those anonymous powers: “Whatever we say it is!”
And Jesus said nothing in reply, cf. The Silent Answer not only because He had already said everything, but perhaps to symbolize His Church who, one say day, would fall silent before a world no longer interested in the truth. Yes, the cover of Time Magazine perceptively asked: Is Truth Dead?
The past month or so, there has been a clear word resonating in my heart beneath the surface of world affairs:
Those who are in power—whether religious or secular—are betraying humanity in the most perilous ways. But something else is happening at this hour: Judas is being revealed… and the result is the sifting of the weeds from the wheat.
Judas is being revealed in the world
It was money that tempted Judas then, as it does now. Money, security, and a false hope that the State, science and technology can supply man’s needs and fulfill his desires. Behind this empty promise, says the Catechism, is essentially the spirit of Antichrist:
The persecution that accompanies [the Church’s] pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 675
It’s not that the world is rejecting spirituality; it is rejecting religion. A recent poll in Canada, for example, shows more and more people rejecting traditional religion but still maintaining some kind of belief in a higher being. cf. Angus Reid, “Faith in Canada 150”; cf. The National Post But here is the sad irony: in putting faith in humanism and a vague notion of spirituality…
…an abstract, negative religion is being made into a tyrannical standard that everyone must follow. That is then seemingly freedom—for the sole reason that it is liberation from the previous situation. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 52
As a result, said Benedict, a “new intolerance is spreading, that is quite obvious.”
A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism.—POPE BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, n. 78
Indeed, for the past decade in particular, the “masters of conscience” cf. Homily at Casa Santa Martha, May 2nd, 2014; Zenit.org as Pope Francis calls them, have been imposing their “values” in the Western world, and then abroad, through “ideological colonization.” cf. The Black Ship – Part II Like Judas, they are “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power.” 2 Tim 3:4 They are the ones, said St. John Paul II, with “the power to ‘create’ opinion and impose it on others.” World Youth Day, Cherry Creek State Park Homily, Denver, Colorado, 1993 Their “new religion”, says Benedict…
…pretends to be generally valid because it is reasonable, indeed, because it is reason itself, which knows all and, therefore, defines the frame of reference that is now supposed to apply to everyone. In the name of tolerance, tolerance is being abolished… —Light of the World, A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 53
But something remarkable happened through the unlikely election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Suddenly, the curtain was pulled back from the wizardry of the political “Left” and, for a moment, Judas has been exposed. Suddenly, what people were told was inevitable—that they must accept abortion, syncretism, transgender bathrooms, the end of sovereignty, and above all, the end of Christianity—was no longer… inevitable. It could be summed up in a statement Trump made to a convention room of followers shortly after he won the election: “Merry Christmas. Did you hear that? It’s okay to say “Merry Christmas” again.” Fox News radio broadcast
But in places like Canada and most other Western nations, the curtain still hides the charlatans who promise everything, but can deliver little—little that satisfies the deepest longing of man, that is. No, the all-powerful wizards continue their social experiment with the entire order of human affairs while feigning astonishment at anyone who confronts the “new religion”, showering them with the same scoffs, spittle, and outright lies that surrounded Jesus on this night when He was dragged before the Sanhedrin.
But neither should Christian Americans assume the night is over. No, I think far from it. The curtain is slowly being drawn again as Judas throws a fit whilst spinning fiery balls of contempt and smoke and mirrors in attempt to frighten anyone who dare to buck the changing moods and current fashions of the day—no matter how nonsensical they are. There is almost a mob mentality rising in America… like the mob who came and dragged Jesus from the Garden. cf. The Growing Mob That was the first revolution against Christ… and now, I believe another revolution is about to break out. Yes, there is another word that I sense Jesus repeating in my heart over and over again these days:
I recall again the words allegedly spoken twice since 2008 by St. Thérèse de Lisieux to a humble and very mystical priest I know in America. cf. Revolution! The first time he heard these words was in a dream; the second time audibly during the Mass:
Just as my country [France], which was the eldest daughter of the Church, killed her priests and faithful, so will the persecution of the Church take place in your own country. In a short time, the clergy will go into exile and will be unable to enter the churches openly. They will minister to the faithful in clandestine places. The faithful will be deprived of the “kiss of Jesus” [Holy Communion]. The laity will bring Jesus to them in the absence of the priests.
Indeed, on the night that He was betrayed, Jesus gave Judas a “morsel of bread.” The Gospel of John says that Satan then entered Judas who “took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.”
Judas is being revealed in the Church.
Just as Judas was a participant in the first Mass, so too, Judas is among us again in those who use the pretext of the Church to advance their own ideologies, their own sophistries and casuistry. And here, I am speaking of those religious and clergy who have used their orders and vows to advance a subjective and sterile gospel.
Judas could have gone away too, as did many of the disciples; indeed, perhaps if he had been honest he would have been bound to leave. Instead he stayed on with Jesus. He did not stay out of faith or out of love, but rather with the secret intention of taking revenge on the Teacher… The problem was that Judas did not go away and his greatest sin was his deceitfulness, which is the mark of the Devil. —POPE BENEDICT, Angelus, August 26th, 2012; vatican.va
Here too, it is “with a kiss” that “career Catholics” have often “embraced” the Church, whilst rejecting the Truth. They have not “been honest” and simply parted ways, but instead, have remained in positions of power, feigning obedience all the while promoting an anti-Gospel.
But just as the unorthodoxy of the presidency of Donald Trump has exposed many Judases, so too, the somewhat unconventional pontificate of Pope Francis has exposed the Judases who, until now, have been fairly unknown. And like the rest of the world, their exposure pivots on issues surrounding human sexuality and the family.
…the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family… anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue, however, Our Lady has already crushed its head. —Sr. Lucia, seer of Fatima, in an interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, Archbishop of Bologna, from the magazine Voce di Padre Pio, March 2008; cf. rorate-caeli.blogspot.com
In one of his most powerful speeches shortly after the opening sessions of the Synod on the family, Pope Francis issued a warning that strikingly paralleled the five corrections Jesus made toward the “Judases” in His seven letters to the churches in the Book of Revelation (see The Five Corrections). He warned against a false mercy and…
The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God. —Catholic News Agency, October 18th, 2014
Indeed, it is precisely this kind of “worldliness” that led to Judas’s apostasy. A worldliness that…
…can lead us to abandon our traditions and negotiate our loyalty to God who is always faithful. This… is called apostasy, which… is a form of “adultery” which takes place when we negotiate the essence of our being: loyalty to the Lord. —POPE FRANCIS from a homily, Vatican Radio, November 18th, 2013
…today we see it in truly terrifying form: the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, interview on flight to Lisbon, Portugal; LifeSiteNews, May 12th, 2010
Of course, I know some of my readers are asking why Pope Francis himself has not clarified certain matters of teaching, or in some cases, has put these apparent Judases in positions of power? I don’t have the answer. I mean, why did Jesus choose Judas in the first place? In The Dipping Dish, I asked why Our Lord allow Judas to hold such positions of power in His “curia” and to be so near Him, to even hold the money bag? Could it be that Jesus wanted to give Judas every opportunity to repent? Or was it to show us that Love does not pick the perfect? Or that when a souls seems utterly lost that still “love hopes all things”? Alternatively, was Jesus allowing the Apostles to be sifted, to separate the loyal from the unfaithful, so that the apostate would show his true colors?
It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat… (Luke 22:28-31)
RESPONDING… LIKE JESUS
I will write more on the Great Division that is occurring at this hour in the Church and the world. But what Jesus desires is that we not set ourselves against others, but “unite” ourselves to them in love. That’s what Jesus did on His way to Calvary: He embraced in His heart every sinner He encountered with patience, mercy, and forgiveness—including those who mocked, scourged, and crucified Him. In this way, He touched and converted some of these Judases along the way.
Truly, this was the Son of God! (the centurion, Matt 27:54)
For really, we do not know who are the “Judases” and who are the “Peters” who, though they may deny Christ now, may also repent and accept Him later precisely because of the witness of our love and forgiveness. Even though the disciple Matthias was nowhere to be seen beneath the Cross, he was later chosen to replace Judas.
We draw from this a final lesson: while there is no lack of unworthy and traitorous Christians in the Church, it is up to each of us to counterbalance the evil done by them with our clear witness to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. —POPE BENEDICT, General Audience, October 18th, 2006; vatican.va
As we watch and pray this night with Jesus in the Garden, let us heed his exhortation… lest we too deny Our Lord.
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)
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|cf. The Silent Answer
|cf. Angus Reid, “Faith in Canada 150”; cf. The National Post
|cf. Homily at Casa Santa Martha, May 2nd, 2014; Zenit.org
|cf. The Black Ship – Part II
|2 Tim 3:4
|World Youth Day, Cherry Creek State Park Homily, Denver, Colorado, 1993
|Fox News radio broadcast
|cf. The Growing Mob