Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” …
… “Master, who is it?”
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas…
… Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”
Today’s gospel led me to reflect on both Judas and Peter in me, because in the sixty-plus years of my life, I have been, and still am, both. One is inconsolable and kills himself; the other accepts Jesus’ forgiveness and follows in His master’s footsteps.
Dwelling on my sins, once again, is not really what this week is about, however. This week is not about me, but about Jesus and how he goes through his last days as Jesus. It is about his dignity and his being true to himself, and what he has preached and done in the last three years of his life. Jesus is love and love is crucified; true love is found unbearable by those striving for power, riches, and fame. Love has little in common with ‘Realpolitik’.
Jesus was killed two thousand years ago and is still being killed today. We see him crucified, at every generation, in the women and men who strive for goodness and challenge the darkness of our world.
What truly mesmerizes me this week, more than anything else, is the width and length and depth and height of Jesus’ trust in Godde and his love for us. It shakes me out of my self-satisfaction; it draws my mind to a blank; it has me come to a standstill. It questions me; it kneads my heart, spirit and soul.
Nothing in Jesus blocks life. He does not elude fear, pain, nakedness and humiliation. He is utterly open to Godde’s will, willing to show each one of us, disciples of then and now, what it means to announce and belong to the reign of Godde. No pettiness there, no petulance, no shirking, no false pretenses…
Following Jesus this week is entering the Mystery of Divine Love, a Mystery that my small human mind can only admire and revere in silence and awe. What a grace it would be if but one bit of it could rub on me.
Yes, Jesus is crushed by the structures of evil of all times. But he only seems crushed, because he goes through death and introduces us to a new age, a new age that is still so very difficult to comprehend, to absorb, to replicate, unless, like him, we can love fearlessly.
The reality of Jesus’ Passion is poignant, because it never goes away; it is still happening today. Simultaneously, though, He is risen and calls me to go through the pain to transcend it with Him, as if he wanted me to go through the throes of a new birth into something else. Going from the safety zone of darkness to the challenge of light and love.
Art: Leonardo da Vinci, heads of Judas and Peter