I Långfredagens predikan i Peterskyrkan tog f Raniero Cantalamessa upp kärleken till pengar, Mammon, som negativbilden av Guds rike. Utifrån åskådningsexemplet Judas Iskariot drog han paralleller till vår tid med dess girighet och skriande orättvisor, men också till vårt eget hjärta.
Ibland har i litteraturen funnits försök att försköna Judas handling och gett föräderiet idealistiska motiv, men det finns inget stöd för det i de bibliska grundtexterna. Judas var en tjuv som stal ur den gemensamma kassan (Joh 12:6) och pengar, trettio silverpenningar, var också ett tungt motiv för då han förrådde Jesus Matt 26:15).
Har det inte alltid varit så i historien, och är det inte också så idag, att pengarna styr frågar Cantalamessa retoriskt i sin predikan:
”Mammon is the anti-God because it creates an alternative spiritual universe; it shifts the purpose of the theological virtues. Faith, hope, and charity are no longer placed in God but in money. A sinister inversion of all values occurs. Scripture says, ‘All things are possible to him who believes’ (Mk 9:23), but the world says, ‘All things are possible to him who has money.’ And on a certain level, all the facts seem to bear that out.
“The love of money,” Scripture says, “is the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10). Behind every evil in our society is money, or at least money is also included there. It is the Molech we recall from the Bible to whom young boys and girls were sacrificed (see Jer 32:35) or the Aztec god for whom the daily sacrifice of a certain number of human hearts was required. What lies behind the drug enterprise that destroys so many human lives, behind the phenomenon of the mafia, behind political corruption, behind the manufacturing and sale of weapons, and even behind—what a horrible thing to mention—the sale of human organs removed from children? And the financial crisis that the world has gone through and that this country is still going through, is it not in large part due to the ‘cursed hunger for gold,’ the auri sacra fames, on the part of some people? Judas began with taking money out of the common purse. Does this say anything to certain administrators of public funds?
But apart from these criminal ways of acquiring money, is it not also a scandal that some people earn salaries and collect pensions that are sometimes 100 times higher than those of the people who work for them and that they raise their voices to object when a proposal is put forward to reduce their salary for the sake of greater social justice?
Like all idols, money is deceitful and lying: it promises security and instead takes it away; it promises freedom and instead destroys it.
The betrayal of Judas continues throughout history, and the one betrayed is always Jesus. Judas sold the head, while his imitators sell the body, because the poor are members of the body of Christ, whether they know it or not. ‘As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (Mt 25:40).”
Men kärleken till pengar och förräderiet mot Jesus återupprepas inte bara i storfinansen och i de skriande orättvisorna i samhället. Låt oss fråga oss om det inte finns en Judas inom var och en av oss. När vi i olika situationer i våra liv förråder och sviker dem vi står i relation till återupprepar vi föräderiet mot Jesus. Cantalamessa fortsätter:
”However, Judas’ betrayal does not continue only in the high-profile kinds of cases that I have mentioned. It would be comfortable for us to think so, but that is not the case. The homily that Father Primo Mazzolari gave on Holy Thursday 1958 about ‘Our Brother Judas’ is still famous. ‘Let me,’ he said to the few parishioners before him, ‘think about the Judas who is within me for a moment, about the Judas who perhaps is also within you.’
One can betray Jesus for other kinds of compensation than thirty pieces of silver. A man who betrays his wife, or a wife her husband, betrays Christ. The minister of God who is unfaithful to his state in life, or instead of feeding the sheep entrusted to him feeds himself, betrays Jesus. Whoever betrays their conscience betrays Jesus. Even I can betray him at this very moment—and it makes me tremble—if while preaching about Judas I am more concerned about the audience’s approval than about participating in the immense sorrow of the Savior. There was a mitigating circumstance in Judas’ case that I do not have. He did not know who Jesus was and considered him to be only ‘a righteous man’; he did not know, as we do, that he was the Son of God.
As Easter approaches every year, I have wanted to listen to Bach’s ‘Passion According to St. Matthew’ again. It includes a detail that makes me flinch every time. At the announcement of Judas’ betrayal, all the apostles ask Jesus, ‘Is it I, Lord?’ (‘Herr, bin ich’s?’) Before having us hear Christ’s answer, the composer—erasing the distance between the event and its commemoration—inserts a chorale that begins this way: ‘It is I; I am the traitor! I need to make amends for my sins.’ (‘Ich bin’s, ich sollte büβen.’). Like all the chorales in this musical piece, it expresses the sentiments of the people who are listening. It is also an invitation for us to make a confession of our sin.”