October 6, 2014

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

We know that Judas betrayed Jesus and later in remorse killed himself. The question is, “What happened before?” What led Judas to contact the Jewish authorities so they could locate Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and arrest him in the night? The bible doesn’t tell us much of Judas before the betrayal. In John 12 the author tells us that Judas was upset with Mary of Bethany who poured expensive perfume on Jesus’s feet as a sign of burial. Judas thought it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. The author then states that Judas wanted the money so he could steal it.

How did Judas come to meet Jesus? Why did he want to be a disciple, and why did Jesus accept him? The bible is silent, but there is a simplistic explanation. God and Jesus chose Judas because they knew he would be the betrayer all along. I find it hard to accept that Jesus would bring someone into his inner circle so that person could undermine and try to destroy what Jesus hoped to accomplish. There must be more to Judas’ story.

Most likely Judas became a disciple out of love. He found Jesus engaging and identified with the message of the Good News. As the ministry progressed, the concepts Jesus shared did not resonate with Judas. Indeed, Judas’ ideas were evolving also. As time passed there was a divergence between the precepts of the Good News and the ideas and values Judas held. For Judas the differences became so profound that it fractured the relationship he had with his teacher. For a considerable time he sat with the other disciples in silent defiance and eventually acted to get rid of Jesus. Judas’ later remorse came from his grief in knowing he had lost the relationship he had with Jesus.

We are called to connect with the person of Jesus knowing that the Good News is the inseparable combination of Jesus and his teachings. Together Jesus’ person and principles lead us into a new way of life. When we extract the principles from the person of Jesus we think the ideas are our own. The authority of Jesus is diminished. Before long, like Judas, we will be alone and act in ways contrary to our walk of faith. There is much to be said in understanding and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Judas couldn’t do this, but we can. Remaining connected is critical. Through prayer and reflection Jesus will keep us with him and much good will result. With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,