Scripture reflection: Tuesday of Holy Week


12 Apr 2022

Scripture reflections for Holy Week Year C 2022, inspired by the writings of Henry Nouwen.

Some Greeks approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, ‘Sir, we should like to see Jesus’. Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus. Jesus replied to them: ‘Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life. If anyone serves me, they must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour them. Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.’ John 12: 21–27

Perhaps, by now, I’ve organised a little ‘prayer corner’, an area which I’ve been able to set aside to be with the Lord. Or perhaps I settle somewhere quiet, indoors or outside. ‘What are you going to say to me today, Lord?’

What strikes me when I slowly and prayerfully read the text above? I pause and ponder. Maybe I am drawn to the Greeks, those foreigners who want to see Jesus. What are they like, in my imagination? If I focus on Jesus’s eyes, looking at me as he looked at them and at those around him, how does it make me feel: awed, loved, uncomfortable, supported …?

How might Jesus have answered Andrew and Philip ..? ‘Yes of course’ … ‘Not just now’ … or …? What would he answer if I asked to see him? Maybe I try to do this now, and see what happens. As I read the text again, I may hear Jesus’s voice speaking to his friends: ‘My hour has come … my soul is troubled …’ In what ways do these words affect me?

I have the benefit of hindsight, but Jesus did not. How much do I normally reflect on the Lord being fully human, with fears and feelings just like me? I tell him what his words mean to me today. I listen to him. In time I leave, with words of gratitude, if I can.

Jesus calls us to continue his mission of revealing the perfect love of God in this world. He calls us to total self-giving…. He wants our love to be as full, as radical, as complete as his own. He wants us … to touch the places in each other that most need washing.
– Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak

‘Lord, you look at me with utter tenderness, saying, “I want you to be with me. I want you to have a full share in my life. I want you to belong to me as much as I belong to my Father…” All the love that you carry for me in your heart now becomes manifest. O Lord, how can I ever go anywhere else but to you to find the love I so desire?’
– Henri Nouwen, Heart Speaks to Heart

St Bueno’s Outreach, Diocese of Wrexham, UK

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