Number 20.- How Much Is Jesus Worth?

A tedious and vulgar North-American custom is in vogue: to put a price in dollars to all existing things, and this occurs in this world: wars, persons, epidemics, terrorism, feelings, diplomacy, sport games, sexual vices, and so on, as if such figures would mean something. And when a phenomenon with an impossible assessment comes up, such as the suffering produced by the Twin Towers’ terrorist outrage, in New York, they fix an amount, which in this case is amazing: More than a thousand million dollars; this amount is already in the Court, and lawyers expect to spoil two or three rich nations in order to get it.

By means of this modern operation, we are going to consider a universal subject: the price of Jesus Christ. Seemingly, this matter should not be posed, because Jesus is the Son of God, God Himself. But we read in the Gospels: the Jews paid thirty pieces of silver to Judas Iscariot, the betrayer. At present we have the Redeemer Maitreya, even though nobody has seen him or knows where he lives. If the history repeats, what would be the price fixed to his life by merchants of the old world, statesmen, priests, journalists, drug traffickers, speculators, politicians, kidnappers, and so on?

Those thirty pieces of silver paid for Jesus, updated on our days, would be equal to the three-month salary of an ordinary worker, approximately. In the times of the Roman Empire, full of slaves and beggars, the life of a man was cheap, as now, for example, in Palestine. In Colombia, the new government uses money to pay for denunciation; a disgusting action became a “virtuous” policy of the State.

We are not going to give current examples because newspapers are permeated by these information, legal and illegal cases –peaceful and violent, public and covered; it is sufficient to see a newspaper, and there you can find the value of a sportsman, of a senate meeting, of a ministry resolution, a decree, a kidnapping, or a murder to order. The abominable sexual abuse committed by North-American priests against children until today has cost the Catholic Church a thousand million dollars in damages (or compensation). It would be better for them to obey Jesus’ injunction, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences!”. Money does not solve anything; it remits a punishment and lets a depraved person to commit new crimes, such as if it occurs now. In this case, Jesus was in favor of the death penalty.

a. Thirty Pieces of Silver

Let us see how those thirty pieces of silver, collected by Judas, were used, so that we may understand the absurdity of assessing life exclusively by means of money, such as, among so many persons, the officials of the International Monetary Fund usually do. In Judas’ case, this was entirely unhelpful because as soon he realized his nonsense, “cast down the pieces of silver, and went and hanged himself”. Did these handful of coins serve to make Gothic cathedrals, the Hendel’s Messiah, Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel, the Divine Comedy, the International Red Cross, Christian religions and, in fact, the whole Western civilization until our days through its highest works? The Christianity comes from the Cross, and perhaps this would not happened without Judas’ betrayal. The Gospels are clear as to this predestined surrender as an indispensable part of the divine plan.

You can understand easily how the way to fix a monetary value to human works (gross national product, debt of nations, Vietnam war, AIDS, drugs, and so on), to the exclusion of other factors, not only solves nothing, but also degrades and destroys man. Money belongs to Satan, even though it is in private pockets, and Satan is neither wise nor intelligent; he is immoral and cunning, and only knows to count (1, 2, 3, 4, billions dollars?). What is the goal of money, its particulars and power? A sustained, limitless growth, without transcendence and offspring, –sterile.

Nations, with any capacity and dimension, remain engraved on this macroeconomic system of permanent vegetative growth, and as the planet has limited production resources, in many critical cases, military confrontations begin in order to steal from one another. Our modern civilization, which ironically started with thirty pieces of silver, goes toward its own destruction and constantly draws back: less electric power, less fresh water, less food, more destruction, more terrorism, more crime: Satan is only aware of addition and substraction.

Just as we watched pictures with bombardments in Afghanistan, an important territory by its oil reserves, with its debris scattered on the ground, so on a lesser (but near and wounding) scale, we see the daily obscenity of the hardboard collectors in Buenos Aires, renting garbage bags and scattering it by the streets in order to get hardboard and food. Afghanistan war cost many millions dollars; a tramp from Buenos Aires receives forty cents for every kilogram of hardboard. The difference is enormous, but the system is the same; Satan adds, substracts and destroys; he does not know to do otherwise and, this way, like Judas, at the end men hang themselves.

b. Religion and Money

In the Teaching “Goods of Renunciation”, Book XVIII, devoted to economy, Master Santiago Bivisio says, “Another economic factor, which today is a danger in the world, is the ecclesiastic one. Institutions of those men that have renounced are the richest in the world. What happens in those institutions that accumulate riches? What happens in the Jewish trusts and Catholic Church institutions that hoard so much power? This very power crushes them”.

Even though the Great Spiritual Masters ever preached poverty, moderation as to possessions, and assistance of the destitute, fatally those religions that should respond to such a preaching at the end are devoted to the accumulation of fabulous riches. So they followed the luxury, personal pomp, and alliances with state powers, and forgot their original mission: to support and assist the destitute. It is hard to admit that hierarchies of the Churches, justified as such through personal renunciation to the world, and swearing to be faithful to their vows, may be so weak and pass to the side of the worldly capitalism. So, not surprisingly, religions are declining, and men despise the latter more and more, when in these days priests should be on the vanguard with new ideas, leading changes that are taking place on a planetary scale in the beginning of Aquarius; they should prepare the rich to assist the poor, and the humble to accept trials demanded by our present days. Should we expect a repetition of the crime committed twenty centuries ago by the priesthood of Jerusalem crucifying Jesus Christ?

Seemingly the time did not pass, and historic characters occupy again the stage, perhaps for a second and final act of the drama. We see a world Empire, that is to say, the United States of America, going everywhere at will; we find an obsolete and selfish clergy in many religions; we see millionaires as cruel as those usurers of the Roman Senate; we find an infinite multitude of persons that are in need; and again we count on the Redeemer willing to change evil things. What happens these years before the outcome of the tragedy? What are doing and where are the new Apostles? Perhaps they are preparing themselves beside the Lord in order to act in due course. Beyond calamities shaking men, and beyond new wars prepared in old regions, beyond starvation, diseases, terror and dangers, an unknown feeling of hope move the souls within as a premonition of something great, cosmic and divine that is on the brink of taking place. New souls, which were born and are being born to be with the Savior of the World, are anxiously looking for his Redeeming Message.

c. And Your Heart?

We are aware of many things occurred in the world, and of their financial cost; even the next massacre that has to take place in Iraq has been calculated: 100,000-200.000 million dollars. The cost as to human lives and environmental effects is laid aside: the latter have no market value. Also we are aware of Jesus’ cost in the old times: thirty pieces of silver. The historic results of this deicide were so big that could not be calculated: the Western civilization for twenty centuries. We are aware of many financial, political and artistic things, all of them external, but we do not know what happens in men, within, and the main protagonists do not know themselves either; they are hypnotized by power and tumultuous events. Perhaps does George W. Bush, or Saddam Hussein, or Ben Laden know himself? And what about the rest of them? It would be great to find them reunited before the cameras –live and direct– all over the world, face to face, and explaining with a “kind dialogue” to humanity, what do their intimately feel, if they are sorry for the suffering of the victims, if they believe in the God of Justice, and if some time they think that the only winner is death over everybody, and also over them.

But the leaders of the world are unable to feel piety: we ordinary men and women are totally free to wonder about life and death, about good and evil, about the Redeemer, and about hope. Also we are protagonists, perhaps more necessary that the “Lords of War”. Jesus moved exclusively among the humble, workers, fishermen, peasants, housewives and children. By means of his immense power and fascination he could have been in touch with Roman and Jewish authorities, proclaiming his ideas from the summit of the official status. Not at all; he lived poor and among the poor. Hated by the authorities, at the end he was executed. But Jesus remained in the heart of the people, which never forgets when you speak the truth. And the peoples of the world adopted Him as the Savior, the Strong Liberator, forever.

Now he is again among us, with another name, Maitreya, and perhaps with another likeness; but he is the same, to re-build in men their faith in the immortal destiny. He won’t speak at the General United Nations Assembly, and won’t hold conferences with world leaders on a high level: he will talk to simple persons willing to believe and renounce. This is why, at the end of this Reflection, after a complete circle through things of this world, again we ask: Reader, How is Jesus worth... in your heart?