The Catholic Defender: Judas Iscariot, the Apostle Who Betrayed Jesus With A Kiss
Judas Iscariot was one of the original Apostles of Jesus Christ who was born to Simon and Cyborea Iscariot from Kerioth, a city of Judah. According to Joshua 15:20-25, Kerioth is listed as a place in the extreme south of Judea.
Galilee is up north so the point I am making is that Judas Iscariot has a different background from the other chosen Apostles.
During the time of Christ, there were many who were influenced by movements like the "Zealots" who sought to overthrow and free themselves from Roman yoke. Patriotism was a basic foundation, but there were thugs attracted to them and so their history is marred with good and bad happenings, mostly causing more persecution from Rome.
Judas Iscariot traditionally is believed was deeply influenced by the Zealots when he encounters Jesus Christ in Galilee. It is interesting that Judas is listed last among the Apostles with the added emphasis "Who betrayed him" (Jesus). (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16 Judas called a traitor).
St. John first refers to Judas (John 6: 70-71) quoting Jesus saying, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him."
It is clear from St. John that Jesus knew Judas would be the betrayer. At the Last Supper, Jesus became trouble saying, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot."
So St. John was given the clue who the betrayer was. All the the Apostles were looking at each other asking the Lord, "Is it I lord" so distraught they were at Jesus words. Talk about a moment of taking self inventory, they were certainly concerned about themselves when encountered such an accusation given them. (Matthew 26:22)
Jesus response is chilling, "The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."
Wow, for the man who betrays Jesus, it would be better for him not to have been born? I've heard some people rationalize that Judas was simply wanting to force Jesus to take the Kingship and finally liberate Israel from Rome. Judas might have wanted to usher in the Kingdom Jesus spoke about? But history does not remember Judas with much sympathy, St. Peter speaking at the replacement of Judas, prays, "Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles."
St. Peter was really being kind here inferring Judas went to his own place. St. Peter did not judge Judas to Hell, much like St. Michael did not judge Satan (Jude verse 8-10) rendering such judgement to God alone.
I recall Judas iscariot taking exception of Mary, Martha's sister, anointing Jesus feet with some expensive perfume, "But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it."
St. John is definitely lowering the boom on Judas calling him a thief? Jesus simply responds, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."
Again, at the Last Supper, St. John says of Judas, "And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel."
St. John recalls that Jesus gave an instruction of service (the washing of feet) even when being confronted by those who would do evil against you.
The point that I am wanting to make here is that Judas did not just became a betrayer with an opportunity? It was a process, his conversion to Christ and following of Christ was so influenced by his own agenda that he obviously could not control himself. Judas went to the chief priests looking to make a deal to hand Jesus over saying, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
All four Gospels tell the story, Matthew 26:47-56 gives the story, "While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him." And he came up to Jesus at once and said, "Hail, Master!" And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, "Friend, why are you here?" Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?" At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples forsook him and fled."
We always betray Jesus so cheaply, I've seen it many times simply with a smile and a hand shake. Did Judas really love Jesus, maybe, that is not for me to judge, but it appears that Judas and Simon Peter were on parallel grounds in that Judas betrays Jesus, but Peter also denies Jesus. The difference is that St. Peter repented, cries profusely, Judas hangs himself. Perhaps Judas could have been a great Saint if he too would have repented as did St. Peter? But instead, "Judas went to his own place", it was his choice.
The sin of Judas is a process that happens when temptation and ignorance blinds a person who betrays Jesus by knowingly renouncing the Catholic Faith outright. Just as Judas betrays Jesus at night, the person allowing darkness to enter into their hearts and are lead by false prophets into apostasy, their love grows cold (Matthew 24:11-12).
Jesus refers to the ones who betray him by falling away from the Catholic faith as "faithless" (Revelation 21:8), St. Paul calls them "traitors" (Douay Rheims version 2 Timothy 3:4), and heretic (Titus 3:10). I notice in newer translations some are softening the wording, but it is the same. St. John the Apostles refers to them as "anti-Christs" (1 John 2:18-20). St. James says that they are dead (James 5:19-20).
St. James the "less" writes it in a positive, a hopeful way, "My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."
When you go to the Sacrament of Confession, the Lord takes those sins and casts them into the sea of forgetfulness and remembers them no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
"What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray." Luke 15:7
O Lord, hear my cry pouring out from a troubled heart. The sorrow which clutches at my soul has driven me to You my protector, my True Friend in time of need. You know, my God, all my failings, my faults and my sins as well as the torment gripping my soul. My greatest sorrow should be for my disregard of Your holy commandments in the past, and I sincerely hope that you will grant me the grace of true contrition. O my Savior, hide not Your Face from me in this tribulation, let the light of Your Countenance shine upon me that I may be illuminated by Its love. If it be Your will, lighten this burden from me, yet should it be a means of my salvation, help me, help me O Lord, to carry this cross, for alone I can do nothing. Radiate Your love upon Your prodigal child O Lord, this beggar who knocks at Your door seeking shelter in Your Sacred Heart; this once proud earthen vessel made of clay seeks You, O Christ, and in a newly found faith, firmly believes that you will receive him in Your limitless Love and Mercy. Amen