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The Good Shepherd, Judas, And Non Timebo Mala

May 5, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN

Dear family, in the Novus Ordo, this past Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. We heard how Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus then described what it meant to be a bad shepherd. “A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd.”
Let us, then, ponder how our Good Shepherd suffered and died for us — and went ahead to prepare a place for those who remained faithful to Him — and let us keep in the back of our minds a short phrase that should be a guiding principle of our daily lives: In Latin, the Catholic Church’s sacred language, Non Timebo Mala. In English: I Fear No Evil. We fear no evil when it comes from outside the Church, for as we know, governments have made martyrs out of the truly faithful for the 2,000 years of Catholic history. We also fear no evil even when it comes from inside the Church, which also has been going on for 2,000 years, ever since Judas got up from the Last Supper and betrayed Jesus.
Speaking of Judas, it is important for us to ponder why Judas did that. What was in it for Judas? In other words, why did he do what he did — meriting eternal damnation, as Jesus put it: “For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but 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” (Mark 14:21). Jesus used the same “woe to” language in His condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees. So that we are clear on this, “woe to you” in Jesus’ day essentially meant condemnation, damnation.
As an aside, there is a rank heresy being spread about these days, namely, that maybe Judas is not in Hell! As to that heresy, and as Mark 14:21 attests, let us never forget the following, chilling description at the Last Supper: “After [Judas] took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly’.” Nowhere in the Gospels does it relate that Satan left Judas, or that Judas repented in any way, shape, or form. We do know that he committed suicide, the ultimate rejection of the forgiving grace of the Holy Spirit. The unchanged and unchangeable Truth handed down for 2,000 years is that we know exactly where Judas is. It is an error to propose otherwise, and especially grievous if a shepherd of the Catholic Church confuses the issue. Otherwise, then how about if we just go “all universalist” and say it does not matter what we do, actions do not have consequences, and everyone goes to Heaven?
So, we actually do know where Judas is. Do we really think Judas did that for thirty pieces of silver? That’s what he got “paid” — but remember — he threw it back into the Temple. Judas did not do it for the 30 pieces of silver or he would have kept the silver. Ponder it, dear family. If you were with Jesus for three years, if you healed people and drove out demons in His Holy Name (certainly not in your own), if you witnessed miracle after miracle, including raising people from the dead, would you give it all up for 30 pieces of silver? Really, what else was going on?
Perhaps the best clue to answer the question is when James and John asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left when Jesus attained to His earthly kingdom. If we understand that, then we can better understand the motivation Judas had to betray Jesus. It was not for some lousy, paltry 30 pieces of silver. That is nothing when compared to sitting at Jesus’ right and left, or near, in some earthly kingdom. No, a trifling of silver was not what principally motivated Judas.
Rather, what motivated Judas was that the Jewish Messiah would be — the Ruler of the World. Thus, if Jesus was the Messiah, it would make not just James and John, but also Judas, key members of the Cabinet, as it were. That is not merely my opinion. Just ponder again the question of James and John. Also ponder what the Jews asked Jesus as He taught in the Portico of Solomon, as we heard in Tuesday’s Gospel: “. . . the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly’” (John 10:24).
Judas and the Jews back then believed that the Messiah would be conqueror and ruler of the world. So Judas’ real motivation was to force Jesus’ hand. Judas was impatient with Jesus’ “time table.” Judas did not like Jesus’ approach to being the Messiah, any more than did St. Peter: “Then Peter took [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke Him, ‘God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you’” (Matt. 16:22). Judas wanted to force Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah right now, in Judas’ time and in Judas’ way.
Understand this, something you probably never pondered before: Judas believed, as much as any of the other Twelve, that Jesus was the Messiah! But then, as now, many have no clue what it means to be the Messiah. Human nature does not change, dear family. Many people today, both laity and clergy alike, have not a clue what it means to be — the Messiah. We know. We know every time we look at a crucifix.
A great friend in California sent me a meme. It has a picture of Mel Gibson sitting on the set of The Passion of Christ, and next to him is seated Jim Caviezel. Gibson is in civilian clothes, as he directs Caviezel during filming. Caviezel, at that moment, seated next to Gibson, is in full movie makeup as Jesus, after the scourging and the crowning of thorns, and during the carrying of the Holy Cross. Just picture that part of the film where Jesus is carrying the cross. The contrast is staggering. The caption on the meme, with Gibson in street clothes versus Jesus in the Third Sorrowful Mystery, essentially articulates the Judas within each of us: “This is what it looks like when I complaint to Jesus about how hard my life is.”
Dear family, the Messiah does not lead us into some better mortal life. The Messiah, the Good Shepherd, leads us into eternal life. He leads us upon our own “Way of the Cross.”
That, by the way, was directly on point with Sunday’s Sacred Scriptures. The good shepherd’s job description does not include worrying about whether we catch a virus from which something like 99.65 percent recover. The good shepherd’s job description is to lead us to eternal life.
Dear family, ponder what has happened over the past thirteen months and realize just how many bad shepherds there are. Let us not be surprised by the overwhelming number. We have seen them at work since even before the postconciliar era.
As one example, recall the late Cardinal Dearden of Detroit, whom The Wanderer at the time described as “a major heretic, one of the worst the Catholic Church has ever suffered from.” And most Wanderer readers will recall Dearden as the founder and driving force of the infamous Call to Action.
Dearden and his ilk are the type of shepherds about whom such luminaries as Blessed Pope Pius IX, Pope St. Pius X, Venerable Pope Pius XII, and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen warned us about. We saw with our own eyes how bad shepherds directed the wreck-ovations of our churches after Vatican II — how they took the patrimony of Holy Mother Church, paid for by the sacrifices of the laity, and destroyed so much of it. And we certainly have seen how bad shepherds also undermined the Sacred Liturgy in so many ways.
Now remember what the longest reigning Pope ever, Pope Pius IX, said about liberals in the Catholic Church, quote: “I have always condemned Liberal Catholicism and I will condemn it again forty times over if it be necessary.” And: “Liberal Catholics are the worst enemies of the Church.”
And also be sure to remember what Pope St. Pius X said about liberals in the Church, quote:
“Let priests take care not to accept from the liberal any ideas which, under the mask of good, pretend to reconcile justice with iniquity. Liberal Catholics are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The priest must unveil to the people their perfidious plot, their iniquitous design. You will be called Papist, clerical, retrograde, intolerant, but pay no heed to the derision and mockery of the wicked. Have courage; you must never yield, nor is there any need to yield. You must go into the attack wholeheartedly, not in secret but in public, not behind barred doors, but in the open, in the view of all.”

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