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Judas and Peter


Even where God sets no limits, man can sometimes do so.

Two such instances appear here.  The first becomes apparent in the figure of Judas:  There is the No stemming from greed and lust, from vainglory, which refuses to accept God.  This is the No given because we want to make the world for ourselves and are not ready to accept it as a gift from God.  "Sooner remain in debt than pay with a coin that does not bear our own portrait — that is what our sovereignty demands," as Nietzsche once said.  The camel will not go through the eye of the needle; it sticks its proud hump up, so to speak, and is thus unable to get through the gate of merciful kindness.

I think we all ought to ask ourselves, right now, whether we are not just like those people whose pride and vainglory will not let them be cleansed, let them accept the gift of Jesus Christ's healing love.

Besides this refusal, which arises from the greed and the pride of man, there is, however, also the danger of piety, represented by Peter:  the false humility that does not want anything so great as God bending down to us;  the false humility in which pride is concealed, which dislikes forgiveness and would rather achieve its own purity;  the false pride and the false modesty that will not accept God's mercy.  But God does not wish for false modesty that refuses his kindness;  rather, he desires that humility which allows itself to be cleansed and thus becomes pure.  This is the manner in which he gives himself to us.



Pope Benedict XVI. "Judas and Peter." from God is Near Us : The Eucharist the Heart of Life (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008).

Published with permission of Ignatius Press

The Author

Benedict73smBenedict72Pope Benedict XVI is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol I, Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi, God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est,The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Salt of the Earth: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church at the End of the Millennium, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, The Spirit of the Liturgy, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Introduction to Christianity, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Behold the Pierced One, and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

Copyright © 2008 Pope Benedict XVI
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