April 1, 2015

Spy Wed.

April 1, 2015:  Wednesday of Holy Week (“Spy Wednesday”)

Seven connections
with today's Bible readings and celebration;
legend below

  • He was despisèd, from Messiah/ Handel, for "He gave his back" middle section (1st reading)
[Sorry; nothing from the metal band Judas Iscariot]
Pope Francis audience
The Easter Triduum is the apex of our liturgical year and of our lives as Christians.  The Mass of the Lord’s Supper recalls Christ’s offering of his body and blood to the Father, which he gave the Apostles as food, commanding that they celebrate these mysteries in his memory.  We also recall the Lord washing the Apostles’ feet, through which he showed that the purpose of his life is to serve God and neighbor, a service we're called to imitate by loving one another.  If we take Communion without being sincerely ready to wash each other’s feet, we don't acknowledge the Lord’s Body:  Jesus’ service is to give of himself, totally.
On Good Friday we meditate on the mystery of Christ’s death and adore the Cross. Before handing over his spirit, Jesus said “It is finished,” meaning salvation has taken place, that Jesus had transformed the greatest injustice into the greatest love.  His sacrifice of love overcame sin, and we're called to live and transmit that love.  How beautiful it will be if at the end of our lives, with all our errors and sins, as well as works of charity and love for neighbor, we can say "It is finished,"  not with the perfection Jesus said it with, but knowing we did what we could.  Ask God for the grace to be able to say that.
On Holy Saturday we'll contemplate Jesus’ lying in the tomb and we'll keep alive the flame of faith, hoping in his resurrection.  At the Easter Vigil, we'll celebrate the Risen Christ, center and fulfillment of the universe and history.  At times darkness seems to penetrate into us, we think there's nothing left to do, and our heart has lost the strength to love,” but in that darkness Christ lights up the fire of God’s love:  a flash of light announces a new beginning.  Open your heart to a present full of future; our life doesn't end before a tombstone but continues with the hope of Christ who arose.  May we not only observe the Lord’s Passion but truly enter into it, making our own the sentiments of Christ; then our Easter will be blessed.

  • Is 50:4-9a  I gave my back to those who beat me; I didn't shield my face from buffets and spitting.  God my help upholds me; I won't be put to shame.
  • Ps 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34  "Lord, in your great love, answer me."  I bear insult.  I've become an outcast because zeal for you consumes me.  Insult has broken my heart, I'm weak, and nobody consoled me.  I'll sing praise to God who hears the poor.
  • Mt 26:14-25  Judas Iscariot looked for an opportunity to hand Jesus over.  The disciples asked Jesus where to prepare the Passover supper, then did as he ordered.  Jesus / disciples:  “One of you will betray me.” / “Not I!?” / “The one who dipped his hand into the dish with me....  Woe to him.”  Judas:  “Not I!?"...
  • Creighton:  "Holy Week: The First Four Days":  Jesus' self-surrendering love for us made this week "holy."  Remember how he loved us.  Whatever we do, reflect on the power of this week.  He entered into our life, with its joys and evils, that we might never experience it alone.  No matter what we experience this week, let it become a “holy” week, letting this week's graces touch it.  From Sunday's humble, yet triumphant, entry into Jerusalem, to Friday's cross, this week can help redeem our experiences of sin and death.  Prayer for today.  Stations of the Cross.
    The Last Supper/ Da Vinci
  • One Bread One Body:  "When Jesus isn't Lord of your life":  Judas addressed Jesus as "Rabbi," ("Teacher"), not "Lord" as the other disciples did; it's evidence Judas no longer recognized him as Lord.  Judas betrayed Jesus so smoothly that the other apostles didn't suspect him, but Jesus knew.  It's possible to fool the pillars of the Church, and ourselves, into thinking we're great servants, but the Lord knows.  In what areas of my life is Jesus not Lord now?
  • Passionist:  The 1st reading speaks of opposition to God’s servant, anticipating Jesus' Passion.  The psalm echoes the motif and reminds us Jesus’ betrayal will come from one close to him.  At the Passover meal, Jesus said “one of you will betray me,”  then after everyone's denials, identified Judas.  Money may have a motive, but Matthew casts the story in terms of broken friendship;  Judas turned away from the love and trust Jesus placed in him.  The other disciples fail later, put Peter repented, and they regrouped in the upper room, but Judas underestimated Jesus' forgiving love....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Judas was willing to take money in exchange for the Word of God.  They do the same thing who accept sensual or worldly goods in exchange for handing over and casting out the Word of truth who came to dwell with them.  It's fitting to apply Judas's example to all who show contempt for the Word of God and betray him by committing sin for the sake of money or any selfish motive.  Such people appear to be calling out to the enemy who offers worldly gain in return for the sin of betraying God's Word." (Origen, Commentary on Matthew 78)  Lord, strengthen us in faith, hope, and love that we may not fail or forsake you.
Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous undertaking.  Strengthen our weakness, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts....  (Thomas à Kempis)
Easter Triduum infographic (no April fool), thanks to focus.org

Click for full-size
Dress legend
  • 'Coin' button:  the chief priests paid Judas 30 silver pieces to hand Jesus over (gospel)
  • 'Hands' tie:  Judas dipped his hand into the dish and will  'hand' Jesus over (gospel)
  • 'People' tie pin, 'silverware' tie bar:  disciples around Jesus at the Last Supper (gospel)
  • 'Wooden' suspenders:  wood of the cross
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season

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