de Souza: Trudeau’s ploy to play Caiphas has failed. Christians reject his 30 pieces of silver
Judas. The very name, even amongst those who will not darken the doors of a church on Good Friday or at Easter, is held in opprobrium. The great betrayer. Dante puts him in the lowest circle of Hell, and the world agrees.
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Which is not entirely obvious. There are other characters in the Bible who have betrayed their friends, even betrayed their own family. Treachery did not arrive with Judas. Yet we single him out. Why?
There is of course the close relationship with Jesus. But the other apostles also fled. And Peter, the leader among them, denied that he even knew Jesus at the moment of trial.
It is the selling that so offends. The biblical books are replete with stories of ignoble deeds done out of fear, or cowardice, or confusion, or for ambition, for lust, for power, for apparent honour. But simply for money?
“What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” Judas asks.
And the 30 pieces of silver was paid, and remains in our language forever as the metaphor of betrayal.
If Judas had been promised the heartfelt thanks of grateful allies, or a high position at court, or approbation for doing the right thing — however mistaken, we might be more sympathetic. But for money?
Even those who paid Judas recoiled from it. When he regretted his betrayal and returned the money, they knew it was dirty and refused to keep it.
All of which comes to mind this Holy Week, not only for liturgical reasons. The story of Judas — or the incapacity to understand it — fits so well the federal government’s obstinacy on the Canada Summer Job Program, an obstinacy that appears to be prompting Canadians to rethink whether their government is truly a champion of fundamental liberties.
Am I saying that Justin Trudeau is like Judas? No. Rather it seems that the prime minister thinks that the churches of Canada just might be. And that is more offensive still.