Daily Readings for 4/07/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/07/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Tue. of Holy Week. Isaiah 49:1-6. Psalm 71:1-2.3-4.5-6.15.17.
John 13:21-33,36-38. Lectionary # 259:

Jesus is now living out his last full day of life; he is gathered in
a room to celebrate the Passover ahead of time because of the fact of his
impending death, his “hour” has come. We see ourselves spiritually with
him during this time of year and especially now that Holy Week is upon us.
We are able to listen to him as he talks to us and to his
apostles–especially Peter, John (the Beloved Disciple), and Judas. Peter
will deny him three times during this night and before that Judas will hand
him over to the authorities who then will seek from Pilate the death
sentence of crucifixion. Jesus’ words are completely filled with sorrow
not for himself but for his totally self-giving for all men and women even
for those who have opposed him, hated him, been envious of him. Of course,
this intimate gathering is the immediate sorrow because of a betrayal, a
denial, and a flight from him once he is apprehended. We should try to
identify ourselves with the one whom tradition calls John the Beloved
Disciple. He images and lives out what we should do during this sacred
week and especially on the days of the Triduum. We may need to admit our
sins and even shed tears as Peter will do before we can take on the heart
of the Beloved Disciple. There is still time to do this and still time to
continue to be with Jesus in this intimate circle of his friends. Perhaps,
the most ancient reflection about the Beloved Disciple will help us. It
comes from a commentary on the Fourth Gospel written by the priest from
Alexandria named Origen (185-254 A.D.)

We may therefore venture to say that the flower of all the Scriptures are
the Gospels, and the flower of the Gospels is that according to John, the
sense of which no one is able to receive who has not reclined upon the
breast of Jesus, or who has not received from Jesus, Mary to be his mother
also. Yes, such and so great must he needs become who is to be another
John. As John was, so must he be shown to be Jesus, by Jesus. For, if in
the judgments of those whose sentiments are sound concerning Mary, there be
no Son of Mary except Jesus, and Jesus says to his mother, BEHOLD YOUR
SON, and not, Behold he too is your son–it is the same as though he said,
BEHOLD HE IS JESUS WHOM YOU BROUGHT FORTH. For whoever is perfect, himself
no longer lives, but Christ lives in him; and since Christ lives in him, of
him it is said to Mary , Behold your son, Christ. How great an
understanding then do we not need to be able to find out the word that lies
hidden among the treasures covered over by the shell of the bare
letter–the letter which everyone who chances to see it may read, and which
is heard by all who lend their bodily ears to hear it. But he who would
properly understand, should be able to say with truth, We have the mind of
Christ, that we may know the things that are given us by God.”

This is the substance of the “Three O’Clock Prayer” and one of the best
prayers for meditating on the text as Origen has done. Here is one of the
most recent translations of it:
Lord Jesus, we gather in spirit at the foot of the Cross with Your
Mother and the Disciple whom you loved. We ask your pardon for our sins
which are the cause of your death. We thank you for remembering us in that
hour of salvation and for giving us Mary as our Mother. Holy Virgin, take
us under your protection and open us to the action of the Holy Spirit. St.
John, obtain for us the grace of taking Mary into our life, as you did, and
of assisting her in her mission. May the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen.

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