Sean Walsh

I live in Dublin, Ireland. Sometimes. Most times I live in my head, quite unaware of my surroundings – if you know what I mean… If you succeed in tracking Sean Walsh, please let me know, ok? I've been searching for him for years…

Judas Relents

Published on Tuesday 31st October 2017 by Sean Walsh

At the start of the year, Pope Francis on clericalism. Celebrating Mass in Santa Marta… He cited the return of the sorrowful Judas to the Sanhedrin – and the coldness with which they received him… No good shepherds, they… Their attitude the very antithesis of the Lord’s ever forgiving… Their preoccupation with minutiae, the precepts of the law, in sharp contrast to their indifference towards the Iscariot…

And I recalled the relevant scene from my drama: Conclave. At the House of the High Priest.

 

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

THE HIGH PRIEST AND SOME CLOSEST TO HIM IN CONFERENCE:

 

CAIPHAS

Oh, what kind of man do we hold in chains!

What manner of Messiah is this?!..

Look you:

this, this pretender consorts with whores,

publicans, sinners.

One of his so-called Twelve is a tax collector,

in the pay of Rome.

Another sells him out for thirty pieces of silver –

the price of a slave.

And but now the eldest among them –

the fisherman who speaks for the others –

denies allegiance to him three times

when confronted by a mere maid servant!..

Dare anyone tell me this Jesus is the Messiah!?..

 

MURMURING… RHUBARB.

ENTER JUDAS, HOLDING A PURSE. THEIR OUTCRY:

 

AZOR

Iscariot! I do not believe – !

AMON

Judas? Here? But how? –

SADOC

The Betrayer! –

JORAM

How did he get past the Guard? –

AZOR

Someone will pay for this –

SADOC

Dearly –

CAIPHAS

Silence!..

 

HUBBUB DIES DOWN…

 

Come forward…

 

JUDAS MOVES TOWARDS THEM… STOPS.

 

Yes?.. (PAUSE)   What is it?

JUDAS

I, I come to return your bribe…

AZOR

What?

SADOC

What are you – ?!..

JUDAS

I, I have sinned in betraying the blood of an innocent man…

AMON

Innocent? Huh! –

AZOR

Innocent, indeed!…

CAIAPHAS

What is that to us? It concerns you only…

JUDAS

You will take back the money you paid me.

CAIAPHAS

No, we will not!

JUDAS

But you must…

CAIAPHAS

To what purpose?  ‘Alleviate your conscience?..

JUDAS

Please, I –

CAIAPHAS

No…

JUDAS

I, I beg you –

CAIAPHAS

No!..

 

SILENCE… PAUSE

 

JUDAS

Then, then I will return it from whence it came – to the Temple!

SADOC

The Temple?

JUDAS

Is it not from your coffers?

Donations of the poor,

offerings of worshippers,

the pence of the common people?..

 

You will find your silver on the floor of the Inner Sanctum!..

And may you all be damned – as I am!..

 

JUDAS HURRIES AWAY… PAUSE.

 

SADOC

Well… What to make of that?

AZOR

Did you note his eyes? The devil is surely in him.

AMON

Evil spirits. He is possessed.

JORAM

Why such remorse?..

CAIPHAS

No matter, that… Azor?

AZOR

Yes?

CAIAPHAS

Have a servant follow him. One you can truly trust. If Iscariot does as he so threatens, bid him gather up the coins –

AZOR

And return them to the coffers?

CAIPHAS

No. Such monies must not be put in the Treasury.

JORAM

‘Against the Law. It is the price of blood.

AMON

It would be a desecration.

SADOC

Well, then..?

CAIAPHAS

Let him come back here. We’ll think of something…

 

AZOR NODS/SALUTES… EXITS.  PAUSE.

 

AMON

What to do? How go about disposing of blood money?..

SADOC

Is there a precedent by which we may be guided?..

JORAM

Eh-hh… We have long been in need of a burial place for strangers.

CAIPHAS

That’s it! The very thing!

 

ASSENT, APPROVAL.

 

AMON

The potter’s field is there for the asking!

SADOC

‘Could be ours for thirty pieces of silver!

CAIPHAS

Ah, ha! Why not? And no one need ever know!

JORAM

‘This way, there is no sacrilege!

AMON

Much less blasphemy!..

CAIPHAS

Well, then… Sadoc, you hold the purse strings. See to it… And put my seal on the bill of sale.

SADOC :

The seal of the High Priest. Amen to that…

 

MURMURING… ASSENT, APPROVAL.

DARKEN SET.

 

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