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Pope Focuses on Mystery of Judas’ Betrayal

Apostle Rejected God’s Love, Says Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In his homily at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Benedict XVI assured the faithful that the mystery of Judas consists precisely in his rejection of God’s love.

Judas Iscariot personifies “treacherous man,” for whom money, power and success are more important than love and he does not hesitate to sell Jesus, the Pope said at the Mass on the evening of Holy Thursday.

The Holy Father’s comments came in the wake of the recently divulged “Gospel of Judas,” an ancient document that puts the apostle and his betrayal of Christ in a positive light. It describes Judas, in fact, as obeying a divine ordinance in handing over Jesus to the authorities.

In his homily, Benedict XVI, on the contrary, stressed the freedom of the apostle who betrayed Jesus for 30 denarii, as the canonical Gospels explain.

“The dark mystery exists of the rejection, made present with what happened to Judas and, precisely on Holy Thursday, on the day that Jesus gives himself up, should make us reflect,” said the Pontiff. “The Lord’s love knows no limits, but man can put a limit.”

Rejection

Benedict XVI then asked: “What does this do to treacherous man?” And he responded: “The rejection of love, not wanting to be loved, not loving. Pride which thinks it has no need of purification, which closes itself to the saving goodness of God.”

“In Judas,” he said, “we see the nature of this rejection still more clearly. He judges Jesus according to the categories of power and success: For him, power and success alone are the reality, love does not count.

“And he is avid: Money is more important than communion with Jesus, it is more important than God and his love.”

“In this way,” the Holy Father explained, “he also becomes a liar, who plays a game of double jeopardy, and breaks with truth, someone who lives in lies, thus losing the sense of the highest truth, of God.”

“In this way, he becomes hard and incapable of conversion, of the confident return of the prodigal son, and throws away his destroyed life.”

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