Holy Week Day 3 (3 of 3)
ow I don’t know about you, but I know every time I read the story of Spy Wednesday, the story of Jesus’ betrayal I’m struck by how hard it must have been for Jesus to have someone whom he loved, someone who followed him for so long, do this.
I’m struck as well by how hard it must have been for Judas. Judas, who had pinned such hopes on Christ, only to have them dashed. Judas, who believed at the end of it all that this was probably all that was left for him, to betray this ineffective Messiah into the hands of those who wanted to stop him. How hard this must have been for Judas. How sad.
Judas has always been a tragic figure to me.
I think that’s perhaps because each of us know what it’s like to have God not live up to our expectations. We know what it’s like to have Jesus not do the things we want Jesus to do. We all know what it’s like to have the world just not simply turn out the way that you wanted it to and to have anger and frustration about that.
And while it’s unlikely that any have us have gone into the temple and taken 30 pieces of silver to betray Christ, I would imagine that each of us has had times in our life when our experience of God or others has made us want to say, “Oh, to hell with it.”
I’m fascinated by the readings given to us on Spy Wednesday. Because these readings not only look very carefully and very realistically at the suffering of Christ, but they also connect that suffering to us. We are given readings that say that we should not lose heart when we find ourselves beset by all kinds of suffering, that we should fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and press on.
I’m struck by that.
I’m struck by the fact that Jesus demonstrated that when our faith in others is shaken, when our faith in God is shaken, when we find ourselves hurt or wounded or angry—maybe not spat upon, but wounded in other ways—that we are called quite simply to look a little more carefully at Jesus and to choose to persist. We are called to know that saying “To hell with it,” is the path that leads to no good end, that it is the path that leads out into the night—not where the Light is.
We are called instead to choose to be present, to persist, to love as we best can, even if that means the difficult suffering before us. To persist in love is what Christ did.
And as Jesus walked through this Holy Week, watching, as we have seen, as the crisis and conflict rises, as more and more begin to doubt him… Surely, he began to realize more and more how hard it is to watch those who had followed him turn away, how hard it is to watch the crowds of Palm Sunday eventually shrink, bit by bit, until we hit this moment on Spy Wednesday where even one of his closest friends turns away.
We watch that.
But we also see a Christ who remains steadfast in his path, who remains convinced that what matters much more that his suffering is a persistent love that seeks to reconcile all people to God and Godself.
I don’t know what kinds of burdens you come to Holy Wednesday with, what kind of burdens you bring to this Spy Wednesday. But I’d urge you to fix your eyes on Christ and to walk. I’d urge you to walk, not only these next three days of the Triduum, with powerful confidence in Christ’s love, but to walk the days that follow.
I’d invite you to persist on, remembering that no matter the sufferings that beset you, you may have confidence that nothing is ever lost to the love of God. Amen.
Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.