Tuesday 27 March 2018
The Last Supper, 1308-1311. Duccio di Buoninsegna, Maesta
Tuesday in Holy Week.
Isaiah 49:1-6. Psalm 70(71):1-6, 15, 17. John 13:21-33, 36-38.
I will sing of your salvation—Psalm 70(71):1-6, 15, 17.
It is the one to whom I will give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.
It’s sad when relationships break down. Yet there is hardly person in the world who has reached maturity without going through this painful experience. Part of the price we pay for needing others in our lives is that we are vulnerable and get hurt. We are not robots. A friend was telling me about such a loss and how disappointed she was in someone she had trusted when she said ‘and to think the number of times I’d had her at my place for dinner.’ It seems that betraying the closeness you establish when you share your own table with someone only makes it worse.
Jesus must have trusted Judas along the way. Or he would not have been put in charge of money. Every time Judas is mentioned, money is in the background. In yesterday’s Gospel he complained about the expense wasted on costly perfume. In tomorrow’s, he will sign a deal for thirty pieces of silver. Today, the rest of Jesus’ friends think that Judas is being told by Jesus to make some financial arrangement. Ironically, that is precisely what he will do. The Gospel says bluntly ‘Night had fallen.’ We are in a dark place. It is all the more poignant that Judas has walked away from the table he shares with Jesus. It says that Jesus was ‘troubled in spirit.’ He feels keenly the fact that this relationship has taken such a turn. Judas, unlike Peter, chooses never to seek reconciliation.
We all know what it is to take ourselves to a dark place, to exclude ourselves from the very tables, both literal and metaphorical, where we are fed and nurtured and accepted. One of the great themes of Holy Week is honesty. There are many lies told by many people, including Peter. But Jesus is not one of those. He asks us to find healing and honesty is the only door through which we get there.