This is one of those homilies that you wish everyone could hear, not because I think I’m awesome but because it cuts to some really important issues
I first remember hearing it in religion class in grade school, not from my teachers but from my classmates, and then have heard it a lot since from lots of different people – “Didn’t Judas HAVE to hand Jesus over?” or “God made Judas do it”
- i.e. “Judas might be okay?”
- i.e. “Judas was a robot…an actor reciting lines given to him by God…”
But the Gospels of course discredit all this as hogwash
Jesus: “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.”
Now, the reason I wish everyone could hear this homily is that there are TWO huge implications of this
1. God never has someone do evil
Here’s the problem with thinking God DOES have someone do evil – if God can have people do evil for good outcomes (i.e. betray Jesus Christ so that the world will be saved) then we can start doing evil things because of the good outcomes that we think will happen
It becomes okay to destroy embryos for the good perceived outcome of curing diabetes
It becomes okay to use contraception in my marriage for the good perceived outcome of making my marriage happier
It becomes okay to experiment on human beings for the perceived good outcome of medical science
It becomes okay to torture people for the perceived good outcome of saving soldiers lives
It becomes okay to make money illegally for the perceived good outcome of feeding my family
LITERALLY ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE THE MOMENT A PERCEIVED FUTURE CONSEQUENCE CAN BE USED TO JUSTIFY AN ACTION
Even worse…it starts to be the case that if God wills evil or causes evil, then I can too…and it even begins to be the case that, as we go down this road, that God can’t do evil…so Him having Judas do this evil isn’t actually evil…so not only do the ends justify the means, the end result according to this line of thinking MAKES THE EVIL ACT GOOD.
And so it has become fashionable to say such things today, even in the Church – the apparently evil acts might not actually BE evil, as the circumstances or intentions of an act might make an evil act actually good.
Because look – God did something that looked evil but wasn’t
3 things to each act –
1) Act itself
3) Intentions of the person
And numbers 2 and 3 NEVER change NUMBER 1
2. God never makes any robots – good or evil. God doesn’t use people. He doesn’t give people lines to recite – GOD GIVES US FREE WILL!!!
It is a highly damaging and false way to view God if we think of him as EVER using people for something. If God uses people, then we start to think we can to.
Jesus’ words about Judas need to be with us always – 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