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Wednesday of Holy Week

April 20, 2011

Blessed Spy Wednesday!

Spy Wednesday is a popular term, not a liturgical one,
yet it describes Judas’ new position among the disciples.
Today he becomes a spy among the Twelve, an informer for the enemy,
waiting for the opportune moment to hand over his Lord to condemnation and death.

Father, in Your plan of salvation
Your Son Jesus Christ accepted the cross
and freed us from the power of the enemy.
May we come to share the glory of His resurrection,
for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Readings:
Isaiah 50:4-9 (God’s Suffering Servant will not be deterred)
Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34 “Lord, in Your great love, answer me.”
+Matthew 26:14-25 (Judas’ first betrayal and Jesus’ subtle invitation to repentance)

I have not rebelled,
have not turned back
-Isaiah 50:5

I wish I could say that!

I shield my face from misunderstanding and disapproval,
never mind buffets and spitting!
It is not in me to dip my hand into the dish with my betrayer
and discretely challenge him to repent.

I’m not that brave!

I’m in good company, though.
There’s hope for me…
None of the apostles were that brave either…at the time.
Yes, Judas heads the list of cowards,
selling his soul for the price of a slave (see Matthew 26:15, Exodus 21:32),
but of the thirteen men in the room that fateful night
only one of them did not turn back.
Only one of them could say

I gave My back to those who beat Me,
My cheeks to those who plucked My beard;
My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting
-Isaiah 50:6

Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled
-Matthew 26:56

None of us can afford to “stand on our laurels.”

Every day Jesus says,

Amen I say to you, one of you is about to betray me
-Matthew 26:21

…and our most honest response isn’t really even

Is it I, Lord?
-Matthew 26:22

but rather

How, Lord?
Show me, that I may repent!

That’s our daily examination of conscience.

What a relief that Jesus’ first words to us after the ordeal are

Peace be with you!
-John 20:21

Jesus hand-delivers this peace in the confessional,
where He strengthens us to avoid the very sins by which we’ve betrayed Him.

The first time [Jesus] entered the upper room after the resurrection
He spoke the words which convey the principle benefit
conferred by the paschal mystery:
“Receive the Holy Spirit; to any whose sins you forgive,
those sins will be forgiven” (Jn 20:22-23).
-Karol Wojtyla, Sign of Contradiction

That’s why there’s hope for me…and for you.
It all comes from Him.

For who is God except the lord?
Who is a rock, save our God?
The God who girded me with strength and kept my way unerring;
Who made my feet swift as those of hinds;
Who trained my hands for war
and my arms to bend a bow of brass…
-Psalm 18:32-35

Only with that strength is it possible to say (and live)

I have not rebelled,
have not turned back
-Isaiah 50:5

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the author and finisher of our faith.
-Hebrews 12:2

For

I am sure of this much:
that He who began a good work in you
will carry it through to completions,
right up to the day of Christ Jesus
-Philippians 1:6

He’s got the power to save you!

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