Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spy Wednesday

Spy Wednesday is the term traditionally used to describe the Wednesday during Holy Week. It is thought to be the day when Judas decided to betray Christ. The Gospel for this day tells us the story of the betrayal of Judas.

In the past few days there has been a story in the news of a newly discovered manuscript of the “Gospel of Judas”. The manuscript was actually found in the seventies, and a new translation of it was recently released. Despite the recent hype, scholars actually have long known about the "Gospel" of Judas. The early Christians, such as St. Irenaeus of Lyons, were familiar with the Gospel of Judas and rejected it as untrue. It was written by a heretical sect called the Gnostics who believed in enlightenment and salvation through secret knowledge. St. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John, one of the twelve original Apostles.

Why trust the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and not the non-canonical gospels that arouse curiosity such as Judas? As Christians we ultimately believe that the Holy Spirit guided the early Church to distinguish between what was true and what was false, what we needed to know for our salvation. The Gospel of Judas was actually written in the second century, long after the death of Judas. The canonical Gospels were written in the first century, closer to the time of Christ. They were also written by eye-witnesses to the events they report on.

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