Tuesday of Holy Week 2015

Today’s gospel, John 13.2–33, 36–38, gives the lie to the idea of Jesus’ serenely going to his Passion and Death, completely untroubled in mind or body. Instead we see him ‘troubled in spirit,’ blurting out his distress at what he knows will happen, and then a brief, sad exchange with the friend who will betray him. All this to the accompaniment of the disciples’ baffled incomprehension. They are still in Palm Sunday mood, looking forward to the Passover, expecting great things of Jesus. Simon Peter is full of cheerful courage, ready to make the most extravagant declarations of love and fidelity. We know how it will end, but we are destined to go on every step of the way, with nothing changed or lessened in intensity.

I think Tuesday in Holy Week has its own special dynamic. Many of us are putting the finishing touches to our liturgical and domestic preparations. By Wednesday we shall be so close to the Triduum that we shall mentally be inhabiting its space, but today there is still some distance. We are distant, too, from the joyful celebration of Palm Sunday. Then, like a stone falling into a still pool, comes the narrative of betrayal, sending out ripples of horror in all directions. Today acts as a kind of reality check on Holy Week. We can’t close our eyes to the pain and suffering caused by a complex web of relationships and an equally complex chain of events. The only thing we can do is try to embrace it as honestly as we can. Much of our life has similar moments, but today assures us that, wherever we go, whatever we experience, Jesus has been there before us. There is a wise saying of Julian of Norwich which expresses how grace transforms our failures, if we will but let God act:

Grace transforms our failings full of dread into abundant, endless comfort … our failings full of shame into a noble, glorious rising … our dying full of sorrow into holy, blissful life. …. Just as our contrariness here on earth brings us pain, shame and sorrow, so grace brings us surpassing comfort, glory, and bliss in heaven … And that shall be a property of blessed love, that we shall know in God, which we might never have known without first experiencing woe.


7 thoughts on “Tuesday of Holy Week 2015”

  1. Thank you for a wonderful reflection.

    Julian of Norwich was gifted with some great insight and her words that you quote can be a comfort if we allow them to seep into our hearts and our bones.

    We don’t talk enough about the Grace of God, I’m so pleased that I see it in my own life and the lives of so many that I meet either in the flesh or when I come to your blog here.

    I sincerely believe that God IS Love and Jesus was his saving grace for us all – I just hope that more people will come to know that through Jesus in the coming days.

    Proclaim the good news – because it’s free, without any strings except to love unconditionally 🙂 Thanks be to God.

  2. In The Great Divorce by CS Lewis there is a wonderful depiction (relying on feeble memory) where a person’s sin is transformed into a beautiful horse which they ride on toward God. I am constantly reminded of this when considering the miracle of God’s grace.

  3. Thank you as always. I find this a hard hard week. I seem always to feel the terrible pain and suffering of it all. My problem is I sometimes get stuck and can’t get to the Easter Joy!

    Thank you for your prayers for this past challenging weekend. I really really appreciated knowing I was being remembered

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