Oops, they did it again.
Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer waded into the waters of religion with a mediocre Maundy Thursday essay about Judas and betrayal. If this newly revealed Gospel of Judas vindicates Judas and removes from him the title of world’s worst back-stabber, then who is the next Judas? Staff writer Alfred Lubrano makes some really lame suggestions, wondering if Linda Tripp’s betrayal of her friend Monica Lewinski, or Bob Dylan’s electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival rank among the worst betrayals of all time, now that Judas’ record has been wiped clean. Oh please. (And of course, Mr. Lubrano doesn’t mention that this Gospel of Judas hardly represents a vindication for the fallen disciple.)
However, however, however . . . He redeems himself as he concludes this front page, below-the-fold essay with a quote from Nancy Duff, associate professor of Christian Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary. "The story of Judas is to remind us that we can all do terrible things, and betray other people. We ultimately have to use Judas as a way to look inward."
Judas is not the scapegoat, the "ultimate betrayer," the sinner exemplar. No. Rather, Judas is one of us. Like Judas, we have been chosen by God. Like Judas, we have walked with and known Jesus. Like Judas, we have seen the wonderful things our Lord has done. But like Judas, we have sinned, we have doubted, we have turned our backs on Jesus, the Kingdom, the Church. Like Judas, we have sold out.
Of course, in that great 80’s song Devil Inside, Michael Hutchence of INXS once sang that every single one of us has a devil inside. And whether we listen to Professor Duff, Micael Hutchence or Martin Luther, each of us are sinner and saint, holy and evil, Peter (the rock) and Peter (the denier), Judas and the Beloved Disciple.
A blessed Maundy Thursday to you all.