bible blog 1381

This blog offers a meditation on the Common ectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:

Meriam Ibrahim, Pope Francis

At daybreak all the chief priests and the elders of the people consulted together against Jesus, to bring about his death. 2 They put him in chains and led him away, and gave him up to the Roman Governor, Pilate. 3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing that Jesus was condemned, repented of what he had done, and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. 4 “I did wrong in betraying a good man to his death,” he said. “What has that to do with us?” they replied. “You must see to that yourself.” 5 Judas flung down the pieces of silver in the Temple, and left; and went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver, but they said: “We must not put them into the Temple treasury, because they are blood-money.” 7 So, after consultation, they bought with them the ‘Potter’s Field’ for a burial-ground for foreigners; 8 and that is why that field is called the ‘Field of Blood’ to this very day

Only Matthew records this story, and its origin is unknown. There is an oddity about it: if Judas didn’t intend the condemnation of Jesus, what on earth did he intend? That question has led to endless speculation about the motive of Judas, to which I will not add. The characterisation of the ecclesiastical thugs in charge of Jewsih religion is entirely believable, with their absoloute lack of interest in Judas’ confession and their scrupulosity with the pieces of silver. Religious leaders who have lost interest in people but retained a care for ritual purity have been known in Christianity also.

At present, even under Pope Francis, the Roman Catholic Church has shown more desire to wash its hands of the scandal than to help victims or to examine the links between celibacy, authority and sexual abuse. From the outset the aim of the church has been to protect its reputation; and this bias continues to undermine any sincere efforts towatds justice and reconciliation. As Christian people read the story of Jesus’ death we should be asking ourselves whether we are more like Jesus or his persecutors.

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