Monday, March 21, 2016
Reading 1: Isaiah 42:1-7
Gospel: John 12:1-11
A great Gospel for the beginning of Holy Week; Yesterday we went from the excitement of God returning to the Temple, tempered by the reading of the Passion.
So with that background look at the tension we find in today’s Gospel. First of all there is Lazarus. What is he thinking after having been dead? He had not been in heaven as the Gates to Heaven were not yet opened; so where was he? Would he be totally happy about being alive again? Does he wonder what Jesus has in store for him now?
Then we hear of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus. Does she have a premonition that Jesus will soon die, and that he will die an excruciating and humiliating death. Does she have a clear understanding of who Jesus is? Does she have the hope that He is the Messiah.
Next comes Judas, the one who betrays Jesus. What is going through his mind? Who does he think Jesus is? Obviously not the leader he had hoped for. And certainly not the Messiah. And without faith, Judas also has no hope; so after his betrayal he will not ask for forgiveness, which Jesus would have gladly given.
Judas is probably the one who fits the mold for the world today. Those who do not know who Jesus really is; those who do not seek his forgiveness and mercy.
Perhaps they think they do not sin, so there is no reason for seeking forgiveness, or worse, perhaps they think their sin is beyond forgiveness. Either way they do not know who Jesus really is.
The last character in the Gospel is Jesus; Do the others really hear what he says when he says “you do not always have me”? Have they understood the message he has been giving about his pending passion and death? What is Jesus thinking? I would guess that in his humanity he is facing the coming passion with fear and trembling; but as God, he is thinking that his mission of bringing salvation is near the end; but do those he loves really understand at this point?
Finally, lurking in the background is the evil, which persists to this day. They want to do away with Jesus because they reject his message, and now they include Lazarus in their plans because he is bringing people to Jesus.
This is the same type of evil which exists to this day. If you are for Jesus you will be persecuted. Did you ever think about why Jesus, and following Jesus brings about so much hate?
Jesus offers nothing except eternal salvation; he expects nothing in return except our love, which means following his teachings faithfully. He doesn’t demand we follow him, although he deeply desires it. But he has given each of us free will to make our own choices.
So this week, Holy Week, meditate on this passage. Where are you in the scene. I presume you are not in the mob plotting Jesus’ death, but we concur with that when we sin. I trust you are not Judas seeking to betray Jesus, but again we do so when we sin. But unlike Judas, we can repent and be forgiven.
We may not be fully committed to following Jesus to the Cross. But since we know the complete story now, including the glorious ending, we have no excuse for not participating fully in the Passion and death of Jesus.
Also pray this week for those who do not understand the significance of Easter; those who think it is just another holiday centered on bunnies, colored eggs, new outfits and family dinners. Pray that they seek and learn the truth.
Have a Blessed and fruitful Holy Week