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Tuesday of Holy Week

March 30, 2010

Blessed Tuesday!

Father, may we receive Your forgiveness and mercy
as we celebrate the Passion and Death of the Lord,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Isaiah 49:1-6 (God has prepared His servant for a mission to the whole world)
Psalm 71:1-6, 17 “I will sing of Your salvation”
+John 13: 21-33, 36-38 (Jesus predicts Judas’ betrayal & Peter’s denial)

Jesus didn’t mean for His Passion to be merely a “spectator sport.”

“Where I go you cannot follow Me now;
but you shall follow Me afterward” (John 13:36, emphasis added)

No, we cannot follow Him now.
We are not yet ready for the glory of the Suffering Servant,
not ready to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6) at the cost of our own blood.
Though the traitor has gone out into the night, never to return,
we have still in our midst the denier.
Though our spirit is willing (“I will lay down my life for You!”, John 13:37),
our flesh is weak (“I do not know the man!”, Matthew 26:72).

That will change.
“you shall follow Me afterward” (John 13:36).

Where Jesus goes this week, we are meant to follow…afterward.

St. Peter did indeed follow Jesus afterward, taking His salvation to the ends of the earth
(see Isaiah 49:6, Acts 9:32-39, 10:23-24, Galatians 2:11, I Peter 5:13)
through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22, Acts 2: 1-41, 4:31)
at the cost of persecution (imprisoned: Acts 4:1-3, 5:18, 12:3; scourged: Acts 5:40)
and ultimately crucifixion under Nero in Rome
(see Eusebius Pamphilus of Caesarea, c. 260-340, “Church History”, Book II, Ch. XXV).

He rejoiced in his sufferings (Acts 5:41),
having discovered the glory to which Christ had referred
(“Now is the Son of Man glorified”, John 13:31)
and recommended it to his flock:
“You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials…
rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory
because you are achieving faith’s goal, your salvation” (I Peter 1:6, 8)
“Blessed are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ,
for then God’s Spirit in its glory has come to rest on you” (I Peter 4:14).

God has chosen us too, formed us as His servants from the womb.
“from my mother’s womb You are my strength” (Psalm 71:6)
No matter how useless our toil may seem to us,
it is through us that God shows forth His glory, here at the ends of the earth.

This is a week for us to be taking notes,
studying the way Jesus responds to persecution, betrayal, denial, abandonment, agony,
so that we may follow Him afterward–
once He has sent His Holy Spirit to empower our weak flesh (Acts 1:8).
It is through our likeness to Him in His sufferings,
more than through anything else we may say or do,
that His glory will shine through us to bring His salvation to the ends of the earth.

Yours on the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows),

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