Reflection: In the show, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ Judas is portrayed as the hero who betrays Jesus because he suspects that it’s what Jesus wants him to do, only to discover that God has set him up as the patsy. As he kills himself, he sings to God, ‘You have murdered me.’ In actual fact, we don’t know why Judas betrayed Jesus. As a Jew, he would have had certain expectations of the role of the Messiah as the one that would bring about the Kingdom of God. This meant that the Jews, as God’s chosen people, would be once again on top and free of the Roman occupation. That Judas felt strongly about this is suggested by his surname, ‘Iscariot.’ This was not a surname like yours or mine. It meant that he was a member of the Sicarii, who were a band of assassins /terrorists who were trying to get rid of the Romans by assassinating Jews who collaborated with them. But Jesus didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get rid of the Romans or establish the Reign of God. Perhaps Judas thought that by betraying him to the authorities, that would force Jesus’ hand, and he would have to act rather than allow himself to be crucified. When Jesus is crucified and does not use His power to free himself and establish God’s reign, the despair Judas would have felt may have been enough to cause him to kill himself.
What I hear this asking us is: Do we truly wish to follow God’s plan, or are we trying to force God to comply with our plans? Hopefully, we discover the truth before it is too late.
Fr. Ray Sanchez CP is the leader of the Oxley community and responsible for Parish Missions and Retreats throughout Australia and NZ.