Judas and the little things

posted in: Prayer and Virtue | 3
The Last Supper (Wikimedia Commons, painter unknown)

My first published book was the brief, free Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life.

Lesson four is:

“Little things matter (a lot).”

This came home to me earlier this week while meditating on Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. How did a friend become an enemy? How could anyone who spent three years in Jesus’ company turn against Him?

Movies such as Jesus of Nazareth often portray Judas as well-meaning, a pseudo-Zealot who thought he could provoke Jesus to overthrow Rome if He was arrested. It’s an interesting take, but there is no indication in Scripture that it is accurate. What we find instead is this:

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.” (Jn 12:4-6)

I think we can learn an important lesson if we delve into the reason the Bible indicates Judas fell. If you will humor me, here is my fictionalized account of Judas’s progression from friend to enemy. These are the musings of the betrayer:

I can’t believe Jesus gave me charge of the common purse! How heavy this little bag is. Heavier than any purse I’ve ever owned, that’s for sure.

I wonder what those boys who used to tease me for my shabby clothes would think if they knew how much money I had at my disposal? I’m carrying more now than most of them have probably ever seen. No longer the poor boy. I can lift my head up. Just think how I could strut around in fine clothes with all this money! Of course, I’d never use any for myself, but it’s nice to know I could. I am rich. But I’m too upright to use these riches. They are for Jesus and the apostles. Not for me personally…

I wish sometimes Jesus would acknowledge what I do for Him. I mean, I have a huge responsibility and I’m carrying it out so well. While everyone else is sitting and listening to Jesus, I have to go to the market daily and buy our food. Just a little thanks now and then would be nice. He always takes Peter, James, and John with Him places, but never me. And I know those three look down on me. It’s the poor boy all over again. Only I’m not poor. I have more than any of them. I could show them so easily. What if I came back from the market in gold threads instead of with their dinner? Of course, I never would do it. I’d be kicked out of Jesus’ close circle and be back where I started with nothing. Still, it’s nice to know that I could do it, if I weren’t so righteous…

I wonder if Jesus knows that I saved a day’s wages by my hard bargaining in the market today? If He does, He sure doesn’t show it. Still no invitation to join Him and His three “angels.” I don’t have to bargain so hard, you know. I have saved us a lot of money over time. I could save us more. In fact, if I worked harder in bartering, I could save so much that I would have a little left over for myself. No one would miss it. But it would make up for being constantly overlooked and undervalued. I really deserve it for all my hard work. I wouldn’t even spend it. I would just keep it for myself…

I wonder if He knows? I don’t like the way Peter looks at me. And what are James and John whispering about? It’s not like I’ve deprived them of anything. They’re still getting their stomachs full. I’ve worked hard for that money. They have no idea how hard it has been. I have to make provisions for the future, after all. What if something happened to Jesus? What would we do then? Everyone else could go back to their jobs, but what about me? I’d be destitute again, the laughing stock as always. I haven’t used the smallest coin for myself. I’m just keeping it by, in case something happens to Jesus…

Something could happen to Jesus quite easily. It’s clear the Sanhedrin wants to kill Him. I bet they’d pay well for someone to help them in their plot. It would have to be someone close to Him, of course. I wonder how much they would pay? Not as much as I’ve put by. Or would they? If something happens to Jesus, I’d need enough money for the rest of my life. I don’t have nearly that much. And the way they are plotting against Him, how can His ministry last? Someone is bound to betray Him sooner or later. I wonder how much they’ll get for it. I could ask. Just out of curiosity, of course. I’d never do anything like that to Jesus, even if He has been unjust to me. I’m going to count my money next time I’m alone…

Twenty-nine silver coins. Who would have thought? Think of all I could buy with that! When Jesus is arrested, I’m going to go out and buy everything I’ve ever wanted. Why shouldn’t I? I wonder who will betray Him anyway. Maybe John. I don’t like how John looks at me. I think he knows. He’s always staring at the purse. If I take my eyes off it for a moment, he’ll take it from me. I’m sure of it…

I’ve heard that the Sanhedrin will pay thirty pieces of sliver to the one who betrays Jesus. John is planning on it. I know he is. He hasn’t been able to steal any of my money, so he’s going to try and get the money from the Sanhedrin. What right does he have to get more than I have? I thought of it first! I should have it. I’ll go to them myself. Then they’ll see. John, and his brother and Peter and Jesus Himself. They should have treated me right. It’s their own fault. And Jesus is the most at fault of all…

So we see in this fictional progression, that Judas begins by nursing pride and envy, entertains thoughts of greed, justifies sin, and eventually betrays the Savior.

Yes, little things matter (a lot).

Blessed Triduum!

Connie Rossini



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Hi, I'm a Catholic writer and homeschool mother of four boys. I practice Carmelite spirituality. Check out my Books page for publications to help your whole family grow in holiness.

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3 Responses

  1. Monique Cameron

    This sounds so much more true to Scripture than the theory that Judas was a “righteous” zealot. This kind of reminds me of the principles demonstrated in The Screwtape Letters. Very well written!

    • Connie Rossini

      Thanks, Monique. I’ve always been skeptical of the Zealot suggestion too. Unfortunately, many people seem to take it as fact, when it’s totally fictional.

  2. Ruth Engelthaler

    This is a much more plausible characterization of Judas, The Betrayer. The modern theories regarding Judas and his possible, ‘not so egregious’ motives or the idea that even Judas is saved and goes to heaven fly in the face of over a thousand years of Church teachings and the understanding of the saints. It dumbs down the concept of hell and the consequences of sin. We all need to become much more sensitive to sin in our lives, especially the small things. It’s all the little hooks and snares that the evil one uses to drag us down not just the big heavy anchor chains. Too many are trapped in layers of what to them appear as nothing but spiderwebs but they little realize how many layers are being wound about them they’ve been so inoculated by the venom of modernity.

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