Daily Reflection
April 11th, 2001
Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
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Wednesday of Holy Week 
Isaiah 50:4-9
Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
Matthew 26:14-25

Our Gospel reading today takes us to the beginning of the Last Supper scene.  Here Jesus foretells what is to come, “I give you my word, one of you is about to betray me.”  The starkness of his words lie not only in the truth that one of his beloved disciples will hand him over, but also in the fact that he permits this to happen to him.  How can Jesus just let Judas betray him?

A partial glimpse into the mystery comes in Isaiah 50, the suffering servant’s words:  “The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.  …See, the Lord God is my help.”

These words illuminate Jesus who knows his Father, and knows himself as beloved Son.  This Father loves him profusely and loves us each in the same depth.  Out of this love, Jesus knows that the suffering that he will say yes to is not the desire of a masochistic God, but rather the heart of a Father breaking open in love for his children.

As we enter into the most holy of days of Triduum, if we’re honest with ourselves, I think we don’t quite know what to do with ourselves in these days.  There is an inner awkwardness of how to walk with Jesus in His passion and death.  Often we focus on Jesus’ suffering and miss the point: the confounding love of God for us. 

How can Jesus let Judas betray him?  Love—for you and me.  How can you make the sacrifices that you do for your family and friends?  Love.  We forget ourselves for a greater good, love of someone else.  It is this love that gets us up in the middle of the night for a son or daughter, for a friend or parent; it is this love that listens to someone in a struggle or simply in patience as they tell the same old story again;  it is this love that motivates going to work daily to provide for a family, or doing simple chores, or even suffering in bed with quiet courage.  In Matthew’s Gospel, he says if we, with all our sins know how to give our children what is good, how much more does our Heavenly Father know how to give good things to his children.  Similarly, if we love so, how much more is God aching for us to know the depth of His love for us. 

The mystery of these days draws us directly into the heart of a God who loves us far beyond what we can even comprehend.  I invite you to take time, no matter what this weekend holds for you, to stop and contemplate the love of God who became man and willingly died so that you and I might share life eternal with Him.  But let it be real.  Take some time to look into the eyes of Jesus on the cross and let His eyes touch your heart.  Ask Him what He wants to say to you.  Listen for His words of love.  Let Him reveal to you what He wants.

As you and I come to know more profoundly the depth of God’s love for us, so too can we love others with that same love.  May this text stir your heart and may these holy days confound your heart with His Love.  Happy Easter! 

“You have passed by, you came like fire that lights the skies,
Sparks falling from your name glow in our hearts like eyes.
In tatters hangs your word, draped round our world and torn;
Now we shall live in you; like clothing you are worn.

You have passed by, as brief as footprints on the sea;
Why did you go so far?  You went too far for me.
You are forever now as deep in God as breath;
No stillness captures you, unthinkable your death.

You have passed by, a strange and yet familiar face,
A fragment of our being, a flickering light, a trace.
Your light is in my blood, my body is your day;
I hope my whole life long to meet you on the way.
 (“Song to Jesus Christ”  Text: Huub Oosterhuis) 

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