Mass intention: For the conversion of those making money off the needy
Pope Francis offered his Mass on April 8 for the conversion of those who are making money off the needs of others in this pandemic. “May the Lord touch their hearts and convert them.”
In his homily, he reflected on Judas’ betrayal, and the “little Judases” we all have inside us.
“Judas sells the Master,” the pope said, adding that the selling of people continues today. He noted the history of the peoples of Africa sold as slaves in the Americas, or the Yazidi youth sold to ISIS. “Today as well, people are sold. Every day. There is Judas selling his brothers and sisters, exploiting them in their work, not paying them a just wage, not recognizing their rights. What’s more, many times even beloved things are sold. I think of how, in order to be more comfortable, people are capable of distancing themselves from their parents, of not seeing them again, placing them safe in a nursing home and not going to see them … selling.”
Trafficking in people is as common today as in early times, the pope said. And why? “Jesus said, ‘You cannot serve God and money,’ two masters. … Either you serve God, and you will be free in adoration and service, or you serve money, and you will be a slave of money. … Many people want to serve God and money. And this can’t be done.”
The pope reflected that Judas is gone, but we still have his disciples … “who are not his disciples, but the devil’s.”
Francis wondered how Judas might have been as a young man. “A normal boy, perhaps,” called by the Lord to be a disciple. “But he never managed to be [a disciple] … He was weak in discipleship, but Jesus loved him. [Judas] liked money … One who loves money too much betrays in order to have more. Always. It’s a rule. A fact. Young Judas, perhaps good, with good intentions, ends up being a traitor to the point of going to the market to sell … ‘How much will you give me if I hand him over to you?'”
Something that calls my attention is that Jesus never calls him “traitor”: [Jesus] says he will be betrayed, but he doesn’t say to [Judas], “traitor.” He never says, “Go away, traitor.” Never. In fact, he calls him, “Friend,” and he kisses him. The mystery of Judas … What is the mystery of Judas. I don’t know … Don Primo Mazzolari explains it better than me … Yes, it consoles me to contemplate that capital [of the column] of Vezelay: How did Judas end up? I don’t know. Jesus threatens forcefully here; he threatens forcefully: “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” But does that mean that Judas is in Hell? I don’t know. I look at that capital. And I listen to the word of Jesus: ‘Friend.'”
See more about the capital the pope refers to here:
In any case, the pope said that reflecting on Judas leads us to think of something “more for today.”
The devil entered into Judas; it was the devil who brought him to this point. And how did his story end? The devil pays badly. He is not trustworthy. He promises everything, he shows you everything, and in the end he leaves you alone in your desperation to hang yourself. Judas’ heart, restless, tormented by greed and tormented by the love of Jesus, a love that has not succeeded in being loved, tormented by this cloud, goes back to the priests asking pardon, asking salvation. “What has that to do with us? See to it yourself …” The devil speaks like that and leaves us in our desperation.
Pope Francis invited us to think of so many Judases institutionalized in the world, exploiting people, as well as our own capacity to do the same.
And let us also think of the little Judas that each one of us has within at the moment of choosing: between loyalty and self-interest. Each one of us has the capacity to betray, to sell, to choose our own interests. Each one of us has the possibility of allowing ourselves to be attracted by love for money, or things, or future well-being. “Judas, where are you?” But the question is for each one of us. “You, Judas, the little Judas I have within. Where are you?”