Spy Wednesday we used to call this day, when Judas sold the Lord for a few silver coins, though he probably told himself another story to justify his betrayal.
The politicians were putting the nation first, they said, but even so they recognised that it was blood money when Judas returned the coins. It could not go back into the Temple.
Mammon had won.
But Mammon brings its own destruction with it – as Chaucer tells us in The Pardoner’s Tale, when Death claims the young men who find, but will not share, a treasure.
After the Great War, Mammon tried to rule Germany in order to obtain reparation for the death and destruction caused by the Kaiser’s war-making. The result was hyperinflation. The mark lost value, another war loomed.
A relic of that time was given to me by my c0-writer,
Fr Tom Herbst: these thin, base metal tokens issued by town councils when the mint could not cope.
Pray for the people of Zimbabwe and Venezuela who have seen their money become worthless, their savings lost, their wages useless. May they not lose hope, as Judas did.
(In this carving from Strasbourg Cathedral the Lamb of God is untying Judas from the Tree and rescuing him from Hell’s mouth.)
Jesus, arms outstretched, at the start of his earthly life. Statue at Hales Place. The Sacred Heart emblem has been lost from his breast, but the Cross is on his shoulder.
One Sunday after Mass Friends of the Franciscan Study Centre walked to Hales Place Jesuit Chapel in aid of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society’s Big Mile appeal. There we read the following prayer by Père Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, once a student at the Jesuit College, since demolished.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
Ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Holy Week must have seemed a long and anxious time for Jesus.
Let us bring before him all the impatience, instability, anxiety and incompleteness felt by ourselves and those we love. I ask you to remember especially all of us connected with the Franciscan Study Centre as its mission here in Canterbury comes to an end.