Homily for Wednesday of Holy Week
Theme: THE SPIRIT OF JUDAS, Pt III.
By: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: * Is 50: 4 – 9, Matt 26: 14 – 25.
On Monday of Holy Week, we looked at the Spirit of Judas from the point of view of the spirit of covetousness. On Tuesday of Holy Week, we still looked at the Spirit of Judas, Pt II from the point of view of the spirit of sinful communion (I called it ‘familiar spirit’). Today, we will still look at the Spirit of Judas, Pt III from the point of view of the spirit of divination (l call it the ‘spying spirit’).
The spirit of divination /fortune telling is like going to the devil to play a spy against Jesus. It is an ambitious spirit that wants to force prosperity on oneself – a spirit that is always too afraid of failure especially when the tides of life seem to be blowing against our whims and caprices. Just imagine Judas, from that day he left the Bethany home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, he kept calculating how much money Mary must have waisted on Jesus and how much he could have made if that amount was scooped into the Consolidated Account of the Apostles. He kept ruminating on the messiahship mission of Christ and was growing impatient and needed to stampede him into the long awaited warfare where Christ is expected to triumph over the Roman government and enthrone the new reign of the messianic kingdom. Fortune telling captures exactly the spirit of Judas – the spirit of intrusion into the ‘secret things’ – the hidden future which the scriptures say ‘belongs to the Lord our God and to us his children the revealed’, Deut 29: 29.
Some people call today ‘Spy Wednesday’, tomorrow ‘Maundy Thursday’ and the next ‘Good Friday’. It is this dramatic event of Judas’ spying mission that quickstarted the whole event of the Passion of Christ. Today’s gospel recorded that Judas initiated the whole process by going to the chief priests and saying: ‘How much will you give me if I deliver him to you?’. There is no better way of betraying Christ today than that a child of God when faced with one or two frustrating ambitions in life decides to go to the ‘chief priests of Satan’ to ask for his advice about his /her future.
For those who wonder why the hullabaloo about Judas’ offence if he was so destined to do this ‘all important work of betrayal’ for the salvation of mankind, we make bold to reply that God does not manipulate a human being’s destiny in such a negative way. The destiny of God and the freedom of man must go in paripassu. God did not design Judas to be a betrayer. Judas designed his character as a thief, Jn 12: 6 and made himself a vessel for the manipulation of the devil for that purpose. Therefore he has to bear the responsibilities for his actions – suicide. Christ said : ‘The Son of man goes as 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’. Every case of suicide is a regret of creation – a curse on the day of one’s birth. But most of the time, we are the architects of our evil destiny. We take the initiative to go to hand our destinies over to the ‘chief priests of Satan’ through divination and fortune telling. And as Chinua Achebe will put it : ‘When things fall apart, the centre can no longer hold’. Happy Holy Week!
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