Thursday 29 March 2018

About Today Readings

The taking of Christ 1602 The national gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

Holy Thursday.

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14. Psalm 115(116):12-13, 15-18. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. John 13:1-15.

Our blessing-cup is a communion with the blood of Christ—Psalm 115(116):12-13, 15-18. 

At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden there was a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried.

St Ignatius asks us to enter into the passion of Jesus with our whole being. In the Third Week of The Spiritual Exercises, he urges us to ‘draw myself to grief and to pain and to anguish, bringing to mind frequently the labours, fatigues and pains of Christ Our Lord.’ Ignatius asks us not to stand back like curious onlookers, nor to get distracted by questions such as the working of the Roman justice system. The very heart of Christian faith is our willingness to be close to Jesus in his ordeal. Ignatius asks us to actually share in the passion, ‘to ask for grief with Christ in grief, anguish with Christ in anguish, tears and interior pain at such great pain which Christ suffered for me.’ He asks us to sit at table with him on Thursday, to have our feet washed by him, to watch with him in the garden and to walk with him to Calvary.

Ignatius also confronts us. ‘See how the divinity hides itself,’ he says. Caravaggio, who knew what it was to be a wanted man, captures this in his painting, ‘The taking of Christ.’ In this picture, Christ is almost lost in the melee. The guards look like storm-troopers; their helmets could be on the nightly news. The face of Judas is wracked with conflict. But once again, take a minute to find the hands of Christ at the bottom of the image. They show nervousness and dread. Yet they are also self-possessed. Jesus seems to accept the journey that will lie ahead. Our calling is to accept it with him.

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