Night Prayer for Holy Week
May the Lord grant you a quiet night and a perfect end.
Each evening during Holy Week
Palm Sunday Night to Easter Sunday Night
Join us for a short recitation of the the
Night Prayer of the Church on Zoom, link here
“To gather together in unity the scattered children of God”
BUILT WITH BOLDGRID
- Daily Mass Readings
Are there times in my life when I have put consideration of my own power and position before listening honestly and openly to what another person has to say? Are there times in my life when I have put “real politik” before obedience the Word of God? Today I will ask Jesus for pardon and forgiveness for the times when this has been the case.
I ask you for the gift of humility, help me to live simply
in fidelity to your word
and your gracious call
to find You in this beautiful world in which I am steward
Help me to find You
in the faces of those
who challenge my comfort
and my sense of entitlement
The stage is set
Today we continue to read from St. John’s Gospel. The opening sentence of the text tell us about a visit many of the Jews had made to “Mary” They, we are told, had seen something which brought some who saw it to faith in Jesus. What is this something we may ask? The Gospel leading up to today’s text tells of the raising of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus from the dead. The character “Mary” is the sister of Lazarus and not the mother of Jesus.
We can only imagine the sense of awe and wonder not to mention shock that this event and the manifest power of Jesus who brought it about, had on those who witnessed it, leading some to faith and others “to go and report it to the authorities” The event and moreover this ability of one man, Jesus, to raise another from the dead concentrated the minds of the authorities.
The question for them however is not one of faith but rather one of politics. How are they to damage limit the effects of this strange man who evidently is stirring up the crowds, with apparently little or no regard for the delicate situation in which a colonized people, such as they were, found themselves. The authorities had negotiated a co-existence of sorts which allowed the Jewish people to practice their religion but only on condition that this practice did not disturb the civil order.
There were many among the people who were anything but satisfied with this compromise, some advocated open rebellion to expel the foreign power from the country. The Jewish authorities therefore had to remain ever vigilant that nothing would bubble up to disturb this delicate detente. If the hand of Rome, the conquering power was “forced” by events to intervene, retribution would be swift and far reaching. It would mean the destruction of their “Holy Place” in Jerusalem, and with this symbol and gathering place gone, the Jewish people as a community would perish.
Jesus is one potential source of considerable disturbance not for his politics but for his actions of healing and kindness, his preaching of the Kingdom of God which was not political in a worldly sense but remains deeply concerned about justice, compassion, truth and love. He has also openly confronted the Jewish religious leadership not primarily for the compromise they have made with Rome but for the reduction of the “The Law and the Prophets” to lifeless formulas that burden an already oppressed people. This robs the poor, and the oppressed in body, mind and spirit, of the life sustaining and challenging “Word of God”.
Caiaphas, the high priest seems to have a greater grasp of the “politics” of the situation than his fellows. He is not interested in the truth or otherwise of Jesus’ mission or his identity as “The Son of God” His interest is in the maintenance of the status quo and thus of his own power and position and that of his fellow elders. He chides them for their failure in” real politik” clinching the argument with a statement that has resounded down through history since “It is better for one man to die for the people than for a whole nation to be destroyed” Jesus is not longer a person now but an object, a “public enemy” to be destroyed when an opportunity arose.
St. John, while presenting us with the shocking immorality of this proposal, does not leave us without hope. Jesus did not give up his life primarily because of the power of the authorities to take it from him but because by his death he “would gather together in unity the scattered children of God”
For now, however Jesus withdraws to the countryside and stays out of the sight and earshot of the authorities but: Passover time is coming, a time when as many country people as possible, would come to Jerusalem to purify themselves in preparation for the feast. St John leaves us wondering what will happen next: Will Jesus go up to Jerusalem for the festival and what will happen then?
The stage is set for the events of Holy Week which starts tomorrow.