Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Spy Wednesday

Today is Holy Wednesday, also called Spy Wednesday, as we draw closer to the end of Lent and the beginning of the commemoration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord.

Today the Mass readings again show Judas Iscariot making the preparations to betray Our Lord.

And, today, he is given 30 pieces of silver to turn over Our Lord and bring about His death and horrible suffering.

Lent officially ends tomorrow night at the moment the Mass of the Lord's Supper begins.

Wednesday’s Gospel reading preludes the betrayal of Judas. How appropriate then is the sometimes used term of “Spy Wednesday’’ for this period before our observance of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The events that led Jesus to the cross were filled with intrigue, suspense, and an impending sense of disaster.

Clearly, the powers of good and evil, light and darkness, sin and salvation were poised to exhibit themselves at the place called Golgotha. John’s Gospel account of Jesus’ betrayal seemed to show Jesus’ deep understanding of His role as the Messianic fulfillment. (Jn 14-17) Judas in his interrogatory and somewhat cynical statement of “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’’ (Mt 26:25) provided the catalyst for the process of darkness to unravel.

The Synoptic tradition on the betrayal of Judas began about the time when the authorities in Jerusalem had determined to kill Jesus, and Judas engaged to betray Him into their hands.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke did not imply that the betrayal was induced by anything more than the money offered or that opposition to Jesus was Judas’ motive; indeed Judas appeared as the instrument of higher powers as Luke write: “Satan entered into Judas.’’ (Lk 22:3).

The event was not unexpected to Jesus, since at the Last Supper, He had announced His coming betrayal by one of the 12 disciples. While to the 12, this event seemed at the time most improbable, to Jesus it was not so and indeed was in keeping with the divine purpose as expressed in the Scriptures and was a necessary means for the accomplishment of the divine plan.

What is so significant about Spy Wednesday is that it reflects the daily struggles we all endure in order to accept a relationship with the Lord. To live the life that Jesus intended for us is a perpetual struggle on a daily basis with good and evil. Sometimes when we are questioned about our transgressions, we answer back. “It’s not me Lord.’’ But the tranquility of Jesus’ realization of His mission provides us with hope in the days to come.

There is a real message here in Jesus’ tranquil resignation to the events that are coming: Faith in the love and power of the Father. As believers in the power of God’s love and goodness, Spy Wednesday should provide a period for reflection and prayer. We need to examine our lives and look for the moments that we have falsely shared intimacy with our brothers and sisters in faith.

Prayer in the Steps of the Passion

Most dear Jesus, filled with sorrow during the agony in the garden, covered with a sweat of blood while praying, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, delivered into the hands of the wicked by a kiss, bound like a robber, and abandoned by your disciples, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, condemned to death by an unjust Council, taken as an evildoer before Pilate, and ridiculed by the wicked Herod, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, publicly shorn of your garments, and most cruelly scourged at the pillar, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, crowned with thorns, beaten and blindfolded, clothed in rich purple and mocked, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, likened to the infamous Barabbas, rejected by your people, and unjustly sentenced to death, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, burdened with the weight of the Cross and led to the place of execution like a lamb to the slaughter, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, reckoned with the wicked, blasphemed, and derided, and given gall to drink to mitigate your pain, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, dying on the Cross in the presence of Mary, pierced with a lance that drew blood and water from your side, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, taken down and placed in the arms of your Sorrowful Mother, have mercy on us, O Lord.

Most dear Jesus, horribly bruised and marked with five wounds, annointed for burial and placed in a tomb, have mercy on us, O Lord.

My Jesus, I thank you for dying on the Cross for my sins. Have mercy on us, O Lord. Amen.

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