Holy Wednesday, Spy Wednesday, or Ugly Wednesday; whatever you call it, today is the day we recall the conspiracy instigated by Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus into the custody of the priestly authorities.
He's definitely one of the most mysterious characters in the Scriptures. One the one hand, via the criterion of embarrassment, that Jesus was betrayed to the authorities by one of his own disciples is probably one of the most sure things in the New Testament we can claim really happened. But why did he do it?
Was it really just malice or greed? Did he believe he was accelerating the process of the kingdom of God by precipitating a confrontation between Jesus and the Romans? Given that it was Jesus' destiny to suffer his Passion, was Judas just doing a dirty job that only he was strong enough to do, as in Kazantzakis' Last Temptation of Christ? Was he just a mediator in a prisoner exchange that was supposed to take place anyway, given the incident with the money-changers and the purification of the Temple? And, finally, if the arrest, Passion, and ignoble death of Jesus was his divine destiny from the beginning, how can Judas be faulted?
There are no anti-canonizations. That is to say, though the Church proclaims saints definitively, those whom we can be sure are in heaven with God, the Church has never claimed that anybody at all went to hell for sure. So there's hope that even Judas is in heaven with the saints. And if it's so, he's one of the first people I look forward to talking to.