Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
What, really, are we watching as we follow these readings during Holy Week? vI think we are watching two realities play outóthe human capacity for evil, and the divine capacity for continuing to love, in the face of that human evil.
Today the human evil shows up in what the Suffering Servant endures in Isaiahís portraitóthe beating, the beard-plucking mockery, the spitting, and the shaming. Then the psalmist speaks of being an outcast to brothers, of insults, of blasphemies, of abandonment, and of teasing a personís hunger and thirst. And then there is the betrayal by one of the Twelve, Judas. I donít think Iím supposed to contemplate these things as a spectator. The Holy Spirit invites me to allow that I have at least been party to the infliction of the pain and mockery and abandonment of others. Whatís being described is very constant human stuff.
But then, in the same readings, there is that theme of Godís love, and the love of Jesusí human heart embodying that love, persisting in the midst of that evil. That love shows when Isaiah tells of the Servant speaking to the weary, absorbing the suffering openly, and trusting in the Fatherís presence in the midst of the hostility. It shows in the psalmistís confidence that, despite appearances to the contrary, the Lord hears the cry of the poor. It comes through in Jesusí readiness to face the consequences of a friendís betrayal.
The Gospel writers, St. Paul, and St. Ignatius all agree that I am to take all this personally. I am to own the evil human part. Thatís the bad news. But the good news is that Jesus absorbs all this mockery, abandonment, and betrayal for me. ďThis is my body given for you.Ē That is addressed to each of usóyou and meóhere and now. We meditate on the Passion of Jesus because Jesus is showing what Godís love is like, not just then but now, right in the face of the evil we experience and do.
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