Sunday Gospel Reflection for October 20
Sunday Gospel Reflection October 20
The following is an excerpt from Cora Evans’ work, The Refugee from Heaven, selected as a reflection for the Sunday Gospel reading Luke 18:1-8.
A few hours after the betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas, dressed in a clean toga, hurried to the courts where Caiphas judged Jesus. Huddling near the outside entrance in order to hide from Peter should the big fisherman see him and wish to vent his wrath upon him, Judas stayed in the shadows of the oil fire over which Peter warmed himself. He shuddered as he listened to the applause that came from the great hall, for well he understood its awful meaning. Poor man, he had believed Jesus would be imprisoned for only a short time when he made the bargain for the silver – now he knew the truth. The Master was condemned to die!
Judas became frightened and began to feel the weight of his crime as the trial ended and Jesus was sent to Pilate. At the same time, he raged with silent indignation at his friends and at Caiphas. He pushed aside a guard and hurried to Annas, who stood beside the lectern table laughing with the other high priests over the clever way they had handled the judgment of Jesus. Wide-eyed, frightened, and knowing the futility of pleading forgiveness in such a place of law, Judas fell at Annas' feet as though fainting from exhaustion.
Holding aloft the small bag of silver coins, he cried aloud for all to hear, “I have sinned! This Jesus Whom you have just condemned to death is God on earth. He is the Messiah! He is innocent of any crime! I have betrayed the Messiah, and you have helped me in the judgment of God. You took advantage of me when I came to you drunk. Here, take your thirty pieces of silver. God forgive me for what I have done!”
Throwing the silver at Annas' feet, Judas fell on his face and wept hysterically. Annas kicked the bag away and said sternly, “What is your sorrow to us? See to it yourself – and ask your God, Jesus, to forgive you, since you now seem to believe in Him to this extent of fear that has come over you. Go search for Him; He is not dead yet. Why do you come here to us and plead your sorrow when you believe He is the Messiah Who forgives sins and loves the sinner? We have heard of His doctrine of forgiveness and love. Is this not what you claim your Jesus does?”
Judas walked unsteadily to the door and there paused, clutching at a heavy drapery for support, as Annas continued, “Why don't you wait and see whether or not your Jesus rises from the tomb on the third day as He predicts? The prisoners in the dungeon below believe His words, and all night they have sung praises to Him about the resurrection. Why don't you join them? I give you permission. Then if He comes as a ghost into the dungeon ask Him, yourself, about your sins and the condition of your soul. Or would you be afraid to face Him now that you believe you have betrayed Him?
“We have learned through various means of persuasion in the torture chamber, that your Jesus has made all sorts of promises to the prisoners. Why, they believe they will soon have their freedom for He will open the dungeon. Of course, any thinking man would know His promises are ridiculous and impossible.
“Just suppose He does rise from the tomb – tell me – how will He gain entrance to the dungeon, when I have it so heavily guarded? Wake up, Judas! Be a man of civic interests instead of one filled with such childish fear.