Judas and John the Baptist.
February 20th, 2002
Received by H.
Hello, my little brother.
I want you to go back in your mind to your childhood. One summer’s day, you asked your parents to allow you to be an altar boy of the Catholic Church. They were very surprised, because they were not and are not religious, and none of your friends was an altar boy either. However, they granted you this wish.
You had to spend some weeks in an introductory course where you learned prayers in Latin, the “Pater Noster” and the “Confiteor,” etc., which did not bother you much.
H.: It is true, I remember this episode well. What I didn’t understand then was, why it was necessary to recite these words that I could not understand. But with the Second Vatican Council, things changed.
It seems that I have always had a “religious fibre.”
Sure. You liked your occupation as an altar boy in the beginning, but eventually you felt very unhappy. And after scarcely one year you no longer presented yourself to assist in the mass. I want you to describe your feelings.
H.: It is difficult to give the reasons. I simply didn’t feel well. The atmosphere of the church was somber, the priest was very old and earnest, but I think that what disappointed me most was that they always preached how we should be happy because of the salvation Jesus had brought to us, but I could not feel this rejoicing. Everything was so serious; I would almost say it made me shiver, with a “sacred fear” in the air. I thought: If we should rejoice, why don’t we dance? Why is the music so slow, so grave? Why does everybody show such an earnest face? Why do people mind when a baby cries in the church? If heaven is like this, I definitely don’t like it.
And from then on, you gradually separated from the church.
Now I would like to tell you a little bit more about myself. You know already that I left my home to see the world. The first place I visited was Jerusalem. Of course, I already knew the city. However, it fascinated me.
In Jerusalem I heard that a new prophet was preaching in the Jordan valley, farther north, and that people were mesmerized by him. You know, I always have had a “religious fibre,” too, as you have just expressed it. Therefore it was logical that I set out soon after to meet this holy man.
John was certainly an impressive person, honest in all he said and did, regardless of any consequence. I stayed a few days in his camp, listening to his sermons, shared his ascetic life and observed with amazement the large number of people who visited him.
Nevertheless, I wondered if this was the life that I could imagine for me. And my answer was definitely no.
And here you may remember what you felt in your short career as an altar boy. Everything seemed so somber, so devoid of happiness, or of rejoicing. I understood very well that it was necessary to regret the many errors we made, but was this the life which God had intended us to live? I did not think so. No, in spite of all my appreciation for John, I could not imagine myself as his disciple. I decided to set out for the Greek cities of Decapolis.
[Judas laughs] It is funny to think how enthusiasm changes the course of history. Peter’s mother-in-law was unique. She had spoken to all in Kpar Nahum with her incredible talkativeness, and it was for that reason that Matthew followed Jesus, because if his encounter with the Master had happened when Matthew was in a different state of mind, it would surely have ended in a very different way.
And when I prepared to leave, some people came from that village and told of the Master’s miracle. Then I found out that John and the Master had met once, and that John had declared him to be the true Messiah.
It seems that Peter’s mother-in-law was the first one who proclaimed the Glad Tidings [Judas laughs].
I changed my plans immediately and headed to the Sea of Galilee. I simply had to meet the Master. Perhaps I would find in him what I was looking for.
But we will speak on another occasion of my encounter with the Master. I only want to tell you that I realized immediately that he really had found this “something” I missed so much with John. Jesus not only inspired us to live, he taught us to breathe life. But this you know already.
The orthodox churches of the present time claim to follow the way of the Master, but in reality, they have stayed behind in John the Baptist’s camp.
I also want to tell you that I am happy that you have learned how to pray. It is better late than never. And that “sacred fear,” as you called it, no longer exists. And the language of your prayer does not matter, you know this. Your words do not reach God, it is the heat of the fire in your soul that reaches Him.
Well, my little brother, is time to finish. Until next time, with my blessings, I say good-bye,
Yehuda ‘ish Kerioth,
Judas, the man from Kerioth
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013