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Beware of the Judas Iscariot syndrome

By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, roycimagala@gmail.com
October 28, 2020

THIS is about people who are close to us but who can betray us, much like what Judas Iscariot did to Christ. Imagine, Judas was already one of the apostles, so close to Christ that he must have directly experienced the goodness of Christ. And yet he managed to betray him!

Of course, Godís providence is so wise and powerful that a greater good was derived from this truly horrible act. Itís nothing less than gaining the possibility of our own salvation, the reopening of heaven for us. But it should never be for this reason that we can even be cavalier in our attitude toward this possibility of betrayal.

Certainly, this possibility can also happen to us when we only go through the motions of friendship, especially with God, but only up to there. Itís just appearances that we would be making, giving lip service left and right, but not the real thing. When the opportunity comes, we can betray them.

To be sure, this is not just a simple act of infidelity. Itís a much graver type of infidelity that is played out in deceit. Its other name is treachery. It involves a network of hypocrisy, cheating and double-dealing, hidden and unexpressed critical thoughts, etc. Sincerity and transparency are thrown out of the window while retaining their masks.

This possibility is always around. We cannot dismiss it as something impossible to happen. Our human condition here on earth where we are always engaged in the constant battle between good and evil, between grace and our weaknesses and temptations around, can always make this possibility to happen.

When we are not true to our word and to our commitments, renewing and strengthening our fidelity to them from time to time, or when we do not correct our mistakes and sins as soon as we can, or when we are not sincere and transparent, we would actually be giving an opening for such possibility to happen. If we are not careful, the slide to betrayal can come quietly and surely.

We have to be most guarded against this possibility and try to nip in the bud whatever slight traces of its symptoms come to our awareness. This is also true in our duty to take care of others who can also succumb to such possibility. Once we notice the symptoms in others, we should already start thinking, praying and devising some strategy to help them.

In this regard, we can never overemphasize the need to be constantly vigilant in our responsibility over our own spiritual lives and those of the others. When we notice the onset of complacency and spiritual lukewarmness whose signs can easily be detected, we should already be amply warned and start to do something about it.

When we notice certain inconsistencies between the expressed intentions and words, on one hand, and deeds, on the other, we should already consider them as ample warnings.

Truth is all of us have the duty to take care of everyone else, especially those who are close to us. And one concrete way to carry out this duty is to consciously bring to our prayer each person with whom we have some special or close relations, or with whom some commitments are involved.

This is not, of course, a matter of spying, but rather an expression of genuine love and concern for the others. We should never be indifferent to anyone. Once we notice some symptoms of what we may refer to as the Judas Iscariot syndrome, we have to start to do something, praying first, asking God for some light and guidance, and coming up with some action plan.

Usually, what is just needed is to shower the person concerned with more affection and understanding, giving him always good example. In other words, to drown him with a lot of goodness with the view of leading him to a conversion!