Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Themes for this Holy Week - Wednesday in Holy Week

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
(John 13: 21-35)

Belief - It's serendipitous when a conversation coincides with one of my Holy Week themes. One of my Lenten disciplines has been to walk each morning on the boardwalk with a friend of mine. We've discussed all sorts of topics during our sojourns by the Jersey Shore. This morning, out of nowhere, she mentioned some thoughts about her prayer life and her beliefs in Jesus. Our conversation rambled around to the point where I mentioned the Jesuit discipline of practicing the Daily Examen . This prayer practice provides a Christian a somewhat concrete means of inviting the Lord into her or his prayer life. The Irish Jesuits often start the examen this way:

Dear Jesus, as I call on you today I realise that I often come asking for favours. Today I'd like just to be in your presence. Let my heart respond to Your Love.

The point of such prayer, I think, is to bring Jesus' presence out of some ethereal zone and bring his presence into our here and now. We recall God's incarnate presence by reflecting upon Christ's presence over the past 24 hours.

I went on to add that I often best encounter Jesus through daily reading of his Living Word through scripture. I desire to experience him face-to-face as other people and his disciples do (did). That method doesn't work for me to well; however, I personally believe in Jesus because of what he said and did through the experiences of his disciples, followers, and Early Church believers. I don't so much think that the New Testament Gospels are historically true as much as I believe in them. I consent to the values and principles of Jesus' Word and Life. They are true to me whether or not they are true (if you get my drift).

Betrayal - Betrayal occurs due to a lack of belief, doesn't it? We betray someone because of of our own fears or because they don't meet our expectations. We rescind our trust and conviction in them.
Judas' betrayal of Jesus is indicative of our own inability to believe that God is in fact present and aware of our needs. We push the panic button! We become impatience or we refuse to consent to God's will for our lives. We' re unwilling to undergo some sort of suffering. We construe that we are incapable of sacrificing our own desires for the benefit of someone else. We are greedy for power, fame, fortune, or some of the other passions that are so part and parcel of most worldly societies. Thus we betray what should be best for ourselves, those we love, and humankind's greater benefit. I wonder at this mid-point moment of Holy Week - wouldn't I be better served and more believe in Jesus the Christ if my daily examen reassured me of God's love, continuing sacrificial grace, and the fact that I don't have to try so hard to believe as to befriend God more continuously.

Another friend of mine shared this quote from Sam Portaro . Sam writes:
"Discernment is never about knowing, never about being right. It is always about trusting; always being faithful."

The distance between belief and betrayal is so thin but so significant. May this day be a day when you set aside your fears and believe that Jesus the Christ is truly living in your life through prayer, reflection, and hopefully personal interaction with The Divine.

Blessings Along The Way -

1 comment:

  1. Today I especially liked these lines: "I consent to the values and principles of Jesus' Word and Life. They are true to me whether or not they are true" and Sam Portaro's quote! Thank you.