Scripture: Lectionary # 259: Isaiah 49:1-6. Psalm 71:1-2.3-4.5-6.15.17.
We are at the table with Jesus and his disciples in an upper room. This
circle of intimate friends includes us through our prayer and dediction to
following Jesus especially during these days of Holy Week. We realize this
is the most intimate and serious time in Jesus’ life and soon he will be
giving us through the apostles his last will and testament.
The Passover meal is being prepared as Jesus gathers at table with the
apostles. We, of course, through our participation in the Eucharist are one
with them in the liturgical concept of time, that of “Chairos” not chronos.
The bread broken and given is our sacrament of being one with Jesus and his
apostles. Jesus shows us a new experience of the Exodus and a way to
freedom by his words of love (agape) and his actions of washing the feet of
those gathered in his name. It is through his commandment of love (agape)
that we actually have Jesus present among us.
Judas, unfortunately, leaves the table. It is night! The hour of the prince
of darkness is here, but Jesus’ “hour”is also approaching with the Passover
celebrated by the people. Jesus will be led to his cross at the very time
the lambs are being led to their slaughter in preparation for the feast.
The realism of the scenes that are put before us mirror who we are and we
see a little of our own self in the apostles like Peter, the Beloved
Disciple, and even in Judas. We learn much from the whole narrative but it
is especially in John’s Gospel that we are able to see the inner life of
Jesus in what happens in chapters 13 through 17. Love and unity are
emphasized for those who follow the Beloved Disciple. He it is who will
stand at the foot of the cross with Mary the Mother of Jesus and with the
other saintly women. We are led to make the hours that lie ahead of us
this week to be one with the “hour” of Jesus through which the Evangelist
tells us is the passion, the death, and the raising up of Jesus in glory to
the right hand of the Father.
Our first reading is from the Servant Song found in Isaiah, the second of
the songs that show us the sufferings of the Servant of God who is a
figure of the Messiah, not the royal image, but the humble servant messiah.
This is the one like Jesus who is the light of the world that lies in
darkness just as Judas left the warmth and light of Jesus around the table
for the darkness outside. When death is around the corner, the contrasts
in life are more clearly felt. This is what all of the apostles will soon
realize. Jesus, however, through his salvific actions and words will reach
the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). Come, let us enter into his hour and
follow him on the road to Calvary. We praise you, O Jesus, for your Cross
and Resurrection. You are the Savior of the World. Amen.