|The Passion of Judas : Prologue|
PETER [looking very old: dressed in a suit]
Two thousand years ago the greatest drama in history was enacted on the world stage. The symbols of the force which drives the universe were handed to mankind, and they still influence this planet. For two thousand year -- and a thousand years are but a day1 -- I, Peter, have worshipped God and prayed to Him to hasten the advent of the promised Day, when there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth, and justice will be done.2 1 am not going to excuse myself, I know my mistakes, my violence, my unjust acts, my complicity with the powers of this world.
Let the past be swallowed by the New Day. The end of this world is at hand. In spite of me this world is receiving the spark that is destroying it. The Spirit of Truth, the hour of truth, has come . . . In pursuing my celestial dream I broke with the world of men which drowned in the injustices that cannot be undone. Although I am compromised I have returned.
1 2 Peter ii, 9.
2 Peter ii, 12-13.
On the threshold of a great and vital catastrophe time is running backwards at a speed that makes us dizzy. We are in the present of two thousand years ago. Centuries are demolished. Make no mistake: I am not a representation of Peter; I am Peter, and I have acquired a twentieth-century conscience. I no longer dream of a world of justice, for, powerless, I am watch. ing the destruction of a world of injustice.
JUDAS [Thirty-three years old, short hair, no beard, poorly dressed, dark glasses, white walking-stick (optional) a cord around the waist]
I am Judas. The billions of the tortured, the mar. tyred, the massacred who make up your history have never troubled you as much as the single condemned man I handed over. Isn't this so? His rejected teachinc -- yes, you have rejected it, don't seek to justify your. selves with funeral liturgies -- his rejected teaching is a horrible cancer in your guilty souls. And so, obviously, you turned your hatred against me, the one who was responsible for handing over his light to your darkness. I compelled you to receive that light in the very depths of yourselves, where it has burnt and diseased you. But I am back. If you know how to receive me perhaps I can cure you. Mark my passion, and my violence! May your protective armour be shattered, for it is of this, hon- oured ladies and gentlemen, that all your religious prac- tises consist. It is your so-called Christian Era that I especially denounce, because, while abominating me,
have the sad ptivilege of adoring a corpse which is to hase revived. Who is the liar? Who the traitor? I have given you the Living Light so that it will prey upon your insensitive hearts and demolish your shells. "God has died for us", you sigh. Are you as precious as that? How have you made the sacrifice last! Every day you have striven to renew it. The effigy of the body nailed to the cross is spread throughout the world, and far from causing you remrorse it gives you honourable consolation.
How shall I put it? Your holy delight is to eat his flesh and to drink his blood -- at least, so you believe, you psychological cannibals: "Die and I will eat you so that I live"! And I, Judas, scandalise you? In what is the offence? He used to say to Peter: "I must die in order to be born anew and those who wish to follow me must die to themselves". But Peter answered Him: "God forbid. Lord, this shall never happen to you,"1 while to himself he muttered, "To die to myself?" My Master shouted: "Get behind lite, Satan! Vou are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men"2 : Therefore a quite small, rather dubious resurrection was conceded to him, and at the end of forty days . . . pfui, good bye! He was dispatched vertically -- I ask you, vertically -- to a shoddy heaven. "It is to your advantage that I go", He said sadly. Perhaps you don't realise it, but since then you have closed your eyes to Him.
1 RSV. Matthew xvi,
2 RSV, Matthew xvi, 23.
It's all wrong. He, the very life of the Living Fire, is here because of me! And the world Peter built of stone is now burning, breaking into fragments. Soon the quickening of Christ will sweep these ruins into limbo.
Listen: I have come to tell you something very simple. The Light -- my beloved Rabbi -- shone in the Darkness, and the Darkness comprehended it not. It neither received it nor wished to receive it. So what could this poor, wretched Light do if it was only to be a Light to which Darkness was unreceptive? If it had managed to make itself received don't you think it would have done so for ever? Would Darkness then, or ever, have existed? Would there not have been Light instead of the Darkness of Ignorance? In fact, no ignorance at all? There would have been no apathy. Apathy would have become action. But this apathy -- it's in me, it's in you, it's in everything -- is established, it persists.
But I must take care not to become muddled. Have you ever caught the sun's rays in a magnifying glass? When properly focussed a small luminous spot is made on an object; for example, a piece of paper. Then the paper catches fire. The Rabbi, I fully realised, was concentrating a glowing radiance on humanity, a -- how does one say it nowadays? -- a mini-atu-ri-sation of the Universal Active Force. I sound like a savant!
"Rabbi", I used to say to Him, "Why die? Let's burn everything and keep quiet about it". He would smile and answer: "You have to hand me over to darkness. I
have not by myself the power to do so. They have to murder me in my role as external agent. They must give birth to Me as a flame within themselves that will destroy their apathy and their inertia". "How will I have the power to surrender you, my Lord?" I asked. "I will commune with you", He answered, "and by this communion Satan will enter you, but a Satan different from Peter; a Satan who will obey me". "And how shall I know that the delivery has been received?" I asked. "When it is paid for with the exact symbol", He answered, "thirty pieces".