This year Maundy Thursday falls on April Fool’s Day, a coincidence that seems strangely resonant.
‘What Folly!’, Judas must have thought, as he watched the events of Holy Week unfold; it was foolish enough to have wasted the money wrapped up in that alabaster Jar that Mary broke, folly for Jesus to have provoked a scene at the temple and then withdrawn, failing to follow it through with a proper, thoroughly planned rebellion, and now on this Thursday, the greatest folly of all, to waste the chance of bloody insurrection with all this defeatist talk of his own body being broken, his own blood shed. Judas could see that this little movement he had joined with such hope was going nowhere. Its numbers already dwindling and its strangely passive leader was clearly headed for the gallows. What to do? What would be the wise course of action? Best to jump ship first before they all went down, best indeed to put some clear blue waters between himself and this crowd lest he be dragged down with them, best indeed to bring the whole foolish charade to an end as soon as possible. The authorities were bound to pick up this great fool anyway, bound to have informers, ‘If I don’t do it somebody else will”, thought Judas, and slipped out into the night.
So on that Maundy Thursday Judas left the April Fool to his folly, and seemed wise enough looking on from the distance on Friday, but hidden in the folly of the cross was a wisdom Judas had never guessed. ‘unless a greain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it bears no fruit, but if it dies it bears a rich harvest’ Jesus had said, and in utter trust He had made himself the seed of all humanity and cast himself and all of us once and for all into the rich ground of God’s eternal love.
Looking past Good Friday to that first Easter another wise thinker, anotherone who might have been a Judas but became instead a new creation, suddenly saw it all, and said to himself and to us:
“Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die”. He suddenly saw that what was sown in corruption is raised in glory, what was sown in weakness was raised in power. And so he wrote the words that should be read on this and every April feast of fools: “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”