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Saint Bride's RC Church, 21 Greenlees Road, Cambuslang, Glasgow G72 8JB

Recent Homilies

  • 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

    You will know that we hear a lot about the Pharisees in the Gospel. They are often pictured as unbending, rigid and judgemental people, they roam the streets catching people out and publicly correctin...
  • 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

    There is such a thing as an honest answer and there is such a thing as a dishonest answer. An honest answer is an answer that is clear, truthful and straightforward and has nothing to hide. A dishones...
  • 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

    I suspect when you come to mass you don’t want to hear about blood and guts, instead you come to hear something uplifting, you hope to go away feeling a bit better. But blood and guts is exactly what...

Have you ever noticed when people fall out with one another or don’t like one another, they employ all sorts of things to demonise the other person, For instance they will often misrepresent the other person’s views and maybe even lie when reporting what a person says. Often they ridicule them, they don’t like the way they look, what they wear, the way they speak and may even indulge in making faces that appear to imitate the other person…childish isn’t it. They are capable with a word to cast doubt on a person, with a word to angle such things to get people on their side, with a word able to slant things against people There are many dark arts that we find ourselves using in order to raise ourselves up and do another person down.

 

Such is the case for Judas in the Gospel. There is clearly a strong anti-Judas faction among the early Christians and St John seems to be in that camp. The dark arts are employed against him. We are told today that his discomfort at Mary’s actions with the costly ointment is more to do with the fact he dips the collection. We hear later that he sells Jesus or betrays Jesus for gold. And we hear that he is an all round bad egg and comes to a bad end. 

 

In the end we are not sure how reliable all of this is. There was a context in which the new testament is set down in a conflict within Judaism, between early Christians who were Jews and the orthodox Jews and throughout the new testament there is a storm raging  that orthodox Jews contrived to get rid of Jesus. What eventually happens is that the Christians are eventually banished from the synagogues for being troublemakers, false interpreters of their religion, renegades. When it comes to the new testament being written and the  Christians giving their side of things they are black and white…the pharisees and scribes don’t come out of it well and neither does Judas.

 

It seems true that one of the Apostles did betray Jesus and all we know is it seems to have been Judas. The new testament doesn’t hide things from us, Peter’s denial, the apostles lack of understanding of what Jesus was saying, the fact that they ran away, and even that one of them handed him over, and in a male centred culture that the women knew what to do more than the men, these didn’t run away and they are first to the tomb.

 

The name Judas becomes synonymous down through the ages with one who betrayed him. In art when the apostles are shown together, they all have halos, he is left out and has none or when he does have one it is coloured black. Or in Spanish art he is always represented as having red hair, apparently people with red hair in Spanish art are not to be trusted!! Sorry if you have red hair!!

 

Was Judas a bad egg? The new testament would clearly say yes. To betray Jesus was something really bad in their books or are we able to free ourselves and filter some of the bias out of the new testament account.

 

I once lived with a parish priest whom I heard giving a sermon which ended with the memorable line and none of you are clean potatoes. The apostles and disciples were not clean potatoes, Peter denied him and the other disciples ran away at the first signs of trouble. Also their motivation seems to have been suspect and mixed in joining him in the first place – some for earthly honours and great glory. 

 

Every play has its rogue, its villain, its black-hearted baddie and in the end the lot seems to have fallen to Judas.

 

We are all wise enough to know that everyone is not all bad. We are all wise enough to know too that bad actions have a long route, they arise from poor thinking, poor decisions, poor habits, limited ways of seeing things. Sin has long tentacles. Sin doesn’t just appear from nowhere. Even the original sin had its roots in distrust of God, in its temptation to be like God.

 

We don’t know what led Judas to make his decision but we do know that he was flesh and blood like us. He had the same chances to do good or bad as we do. He was capable as all of us are of having the same thoughts, the same bad habits, the same ways of taking the wrong route as we have.

 

His is a sorry tale that has come down through the ages to us, but whether he took money to betray Jesus, whether he stole money the jury is out. Was he the victim of the dispute taking place in Judaism? Was he painted blacker than he really was? Why he betrayed Jesus we don’t know. But as my priest friend says none of us are clean potatoes. All is have been in that same boat. The thing that we must not forget is that that this is the reason why he came into the world: to save that which was lost; he tells the story of the lost sheep for this reason; he tells the parable of the prodigal son for this reason. He is like the householder who searches for the smallest coin. He come to save that which was lost.

 

Remember his words on the cross are Father forgive them for they know not what they do. I like to think that those words are addressed to Judas who was only a short distance away from where Jesus was when he said the words. But they are also addressed to each of us Father forgive them they do not know what they do when we stray wide and far from him, when our actions betray that we ever knew him,

 

Father forgive them for they know not what they do. It is a word spoken to Peter, the apostles, Judas, you and me – they are the words that really matter. Words of unspeakable divine mercy.

 

 

Intercessions

 

Priest

 

Father forgive them for they know not what they do – trusting in God’s mercy and forgiveness we pray with a stronger faith for all our needs

 

Intercessor

 

On 3rd anniversary of Pope Francis’s election as Pope we pray that he may continue to strengthen his brothers and sisters by his wise words and the good example of his life.

 

Lord hear us

 

For the children killed at Dunblane 20 years ago and for their parents and family who still grieve their loss – and for a safer world for children in which they are nit prey to the violence of the world.

 

Lord hear us

 

For the ability not to judge people rashly on what they appear to be like on the outside but for kindly and charitable judgments for other people’s words and motivations.

 

Lord hear us

 

For all those who are in prison for offences they have committed, for a new sense of purpose and direction in their life and for the ability of our society to forgive rather than punish.

 

Lord hear us

 

Four ourselves during Lent for a new impetus in our faith, especially in finding a stringer desire to pray and to live out our faith in daily life.

 

Lord hear us

 

For the ability to confess our sins and know again the mercy and love of God especially in this Holy Year.

 

Lord hear us

 

For all who have died and all that we are asked to remember in prayer.

 

Lord hear us

 

Priest

 

 

In this year of mercy impel us to show mercy in our daily lives and so reflect your love to the world. Stir up in us any weariness of faith and rekindle in us the fire of your love to do great things in your name.