Jesus Is Sold by Judas
Source: THE SCHOOL
OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus,
JUDAS having resolved to execute the unholy scheme which he had long been forming in his heart, of betraying his Master, goes secretly to the high priests and elders of the people of the people, and makes them the impious proposal of selling Jesus, and of delivering Him up into their hands.
1. Consider who the man is who sells Jesus.
Not a stranger, not disliked by, nor an enemy of Our Blessed Lord. No, one of His disciples, one of the dearest objects of His love, one of His intimate friends, one of the select band most favored by the Divine Master! How can we, in any degree, comprehend the deep grief, the bitter sorrow, experienced by Jesus at such a return from Judas, whom He has always treated with such love and mild forbearance, and on whom He has unsparingly bestowed the most signal favors? Ah, most bitterly, does He deplore this enormous crime, of which He has perfect foreknowledge! "Oh!" says Our Lord, in His Heart, "I am not grieved that a cruel Caiphas should wish my death; I feel no resentment at being persecuted by an excited and infuriated mob; that a council of the iniquitous scribes and Pharisees is plotting against My life, this does not grieve Me so much; that a heathen judge should unjustly pronounce upon Me the sentence of death on the Cross, this I suffer in peace; but how can I endure that thou---My disciple, My companion, one of My household, and eating at My own table, My intimate friend and apostle, thirsting for My blood---shouldst betray Me and sell Me? Ah, this is too deep a wound for My heart!"
But do you correspond any better with the goodness and love of God when you commit sin? Has He less cause to complain of your ingratitude? Remember all the singular favors which Our Lord has bestowed upon you. He has called you to be His disciple and follower, so that you have had an especial share in His confidence, and in the benefits which He has showered down upon the world. He has bestowed upon you the tender care of a Father. He has admitted you many times to His table, and fed you with His own most precious Body and Blood. He has loaded you with gifts and graces, besides having prepared for you a kingdom of everlasting beatitude, and you most perfidiously and ungratefully have by sin betrayed your Benefactor, renounced His friendship, bartered away the precious treasure of His grace, and given infinite pain to His loving Heart.
Judas sold his Master once only, but can you even remember how many times you have been guilty of the same dark treason? Ah, at least detest your wickedness and, prostrate at the feet of Jesus, weep over the enormity of your crimes, and return, by sincere repentance, to regain your place in His tender Heart, which is still burning with love for you.
2. To whom is Jesus Christ sold by Judas?
The perfidious disciple, to increase the suffering which his Divine Master will experience from the frightful treason he is about to accomplish against His sacred Person, goes to the high priests and heads of the Synagogue, to arrange the terms of the betrayal. And what description of men are these, O Lord, into whose hands one of Thy disciples is meditating and scheming to deliver Thee? They are Thy most cruel enemies, inflamed with rage and hatred against Thee. They have many times sought Thy life. They will rejoice and triumph at having Thee in their power; and they will subject Thee to the most ignominious treatment. This is what in effect came to pass, O my soul, but in the meantime, as Jesus sees and knows all things, how deep is the affliction with which His Heart is overwhelmed at beholding so atrocious an insult offered to His Divine Majesty by one of His Apostles, now an apostate and betrayer of his Lord! And moreover, how must His loving Heart grieve at beholding you so entirely under the dominion of your passions, as to be occupied, day after day, only in finding out new means of satisfying them, and in thinking of committing sin, deserting Jesus, and delivering up your soul into the hands of the devil, His most cruel and implacable enemy! Jesus bewailed the perfidy of Judas, but far more does He bewail yours, because it has been so often repeated, and repeated in defiance of so many interior inspirations, of so much remorse of conscience, of so many internal lights, which have reminded and made known to you at how dear a rate Jesus has purchased that soul which you sell to His infernal enemy when you fall into sin. O my Jesus! O my sweet Saviour! I acknowledge and confess my excessive malice. I detest and deplore my past infidelities. Thou didst give me this soul; endow it with Thy grace, sanctify it by Thy Blood, enrich it by Thy merits, and save it from Hell by Thy death; and I, ungrateful for all Thy love, have torn it from Thine arms to sell over and over again to the devil! I implore and beseech Thee to receive my repentant soul which now returns to Thee, and grant, that since it is Thine by right of conquest, it may be Thine for all eternity, and never more have the misfortune to be separated from Thee.
3. The reason for which Judas sells Jesus.
Has any man urged or besought the wicked Apostle to become a traitor, and sell his Divine Master? Has anyone suggested the shameful thought? No. He himself, of his own free will, has offered his services. Oh, how great is the malice and depravity of the human heart! Has he been induced to commit this foul deed through a motive of jealousy or desire of revenge? But how could this have been, since his good Master has neglected no means of gaining his affections, and deterring him from the execution of his design? Again, how could this have been the case, when Jesus, not satisfied with having received him among His disciples, and raised him to the dignity of an Apostle, had bestowed upon him particular marks of love and singular favors? What wrong, or what ill-treatment, can he have received from his adorable Master to stimulate him to take such atrocious vengeance? None whatever. He betrays Him for the sole purpose of satisfying a most depraved passion, which has long tyrannized over his heart, and made him callous and insensible to inspirations, graces, and remorse of conscience. He betrays Him for the sake of a paltry gain, for the sake of obtaining a few pieces of money, with which to gratify his avarice. "What will you give me," says the traitor to the high priests, "and I will deliver my Master to you?" Such is the language held by Judas, as though he were speaking of selling the commonest merchandise! What a degradation for the Person of the Son of God to be thus offered by one of His disciples at the low valuation which His enemies shall please to put upon Him! How painful to His Heart, to behold His precious life sacrificed to the brutal passions of His disciple! The scribes rejoice that one favored by Christ should offer to be His betrayer, and promise the perfidious wretch thirty pieces of silver as the price of his iniquity. Judas, being quite satisfied with his sacrilegious bargain, closes it at once, and thinks of nothing further than the execution of his agreement. See here into what excesses we may be hurried, if we allow even one single passion to take entire possession of our hearts. Judas was a Prince of the Church, and is thus transformed into a son of perdition. He was in the school of Christ, His familiar friend, and had sat at His table, and is changed in one moment into a demon. Who will not fear? Who can feel secure of standing at beholding such a fall?
You regard Judas with horror, and yet feel none at so often renewing his foul treason by your sins. "What will you give me, and I will deliver unto you Christ, and His grace, and His love, and His friendship," is the language of your heart, when for some vile interest, deceitful hope, or forbidden pleasure, you betray Christ, your duty, and your own conscience. O unhappy merchant, you are indeed at once bereft of sense and of faith! Can the possession of anything in this world compensate for the loss of your soul, and of your God? But, oh, what detestable perfidy is yours! to sell your faithful Friend, your priceless Good, for a mere nothing! Now, at least, expiate your sins by tears of true repentance, and fall prostrate at the feet of Jesus, with the determination henceforth to love and esteem Him above every created object.
Examine your heart to see whether you really love God with a love of preference, and value His, grace above everything besides. Lose no time in purging your heart of all that can in any way be prejudicial to the love of God. Endeavor to overcome that passion to which you are most addicted, and from which so many of your faults derive their source. Frequently during the course of the day renew your act of contrition at the foot of the Crucifix, for the innumerable faults which you have committed, and which have been so many betrayals of Jesus.
The man who is devout to the most holy Passion of Jesus Christ is certain to grasp eagerly at every opportunity of inspiring others with a similar devotion. St. Paul of the Cross, a great lover of Jesus Crucified, was accustomed, while yet a child in his father's house, to make frequent little discourses on the Passion of Jesus Christ, to his brothers and sisters, in order deeply to impress upon their minds the remembrance of the sufferings of their Redeemer. He was accustomed, on these occasions, to take them into his own room, and very devoutly read to them some book on the subject, that so they might be early inspired with sentiments of devotion toward those mysteries which are the fountains of grace. He used to exhort them in the most persuasive terms to reflect often on the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ; and when he left home to found that Order to which he gave the name of The Passion, [the Passionist Order] and to preach Jesus Crucified to the people, in which holy employment he passed his whole life, he left them as a legacy these important words: "Constantly bear in mind the sufferings of our Crucified Love." Let these, his last words, be also impressed on your heart.