March 30, 2021
by Molly Mattingly
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 258

Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17
John 13:21-33, 36-38
Praying Lent Home

The 1st Four Days of Holy Week - 14 min. - Text Transcript

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

There is a theme of “the right time” running through today’s readings. Isaiah speaks of God calling him from birth, making him a sharp-edged sword or a polished arrow, and then hiding him away for later. Jesus tells the disciples that it is time for him to be glorified, but that it is not yet time for them to go where he is going. We are approaching Good Friday, the moment when God’s timing was perfect but made no sense at all to anyone there.

“Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
    and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
    my recompense is with my God.”

Isaiah’s lines here resonated most with me. He acknowledges the feeling of failure and expresses trust in God. I was reminded of the non-scriptural parable of the man and the unmoved rock. You can read it here, but I’ll summarize. God asks a man to push against a gigantic rock. The man does so, day after day, but the rock doesn’t move. The man starts thinking, “What is the point of spending my effort on this? I’m not accomplishing anything – this rock is never going to move!” He is ready to put in minimal effort or even quit, but he takes his concerns back to God first, saying, “I’ve been doing what you asked. Why am I failing?” God responds, “I didn’t ask you to move the rock. I asked you to push against it. Because you did what I asked, you are much stronger now than you were before.” At the end of the parable, God moves the rock.

The moral that I take from that story today is that God’s goal might be different than I imagine, and therefore my definition of failure might be different than God’s. At the very least, moving “the rock” is not all up to me. The important thing is to trust God and to keep communicating with God. In the second half of the first reading, Isaiah rejoices because of what God did after he seemed to work in vain for so long. God made him more than a servant to Israel, but a light to the whole world! We respond with the psalm, “I will sing of your salvation. … For you are my hope, O LORD; my trust, O God, from my youth.” This is where we’re headed this week, and where Jesus is situated in today’s Gospel: it’s about to look like all his ministry and promise was for nothing, a failure. And yet! The glory of the Resurrection is around the corner, and that Easter morning light will gild everything that came before it.

Here are a few songs and playlists for you this Holy Week:
“Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle (contemporary Christian songwriter)
Passiontide playlist
Triduum & Easter at St. John’s playlist

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