Tuesday of Holy Week
John 13:21-33, 36-38
It is Tuesday of Holy Week. We have begun the observance of the most sacred days of our faith. But the journey we’re asked to travel this week is not really Jesus’, but ours.
He’s traveled this journey once and for all. No, this week is about our journey.
During a retreat some years back, my spiritual director asked me to describe the scene that emerged during my meditation on the Passion. His forehead furled as I described the scene. "What’s wrong?" I asked. "Where are you in this scene?" I was standing at the very fringe at a great distance. I was only an observer, it seemed. I was watching in a detached sort of way Jesus’ abandonment, condemnation, agony and death. My director suggested that I begin to enter more fully into the Passion that is not someone else’s, but mine.
This Passion Week must be our journey. It’s a journey we take with Jesus at our side, with Jesus who has been down this road already. The Stations of the Cross might well be a prayer that could help us enter the scene more profoundly. In a quiet moment by ourselves at home or during a visit to a church or chapel, pray through the journey that takes us from insults, abandonment, and death to new life. Let Jesus take that journey with us.
We recognize in our journey the way of the cross long ago trod by Jesus. We have been misjudged and maligned (I). Our cross comes in many different sizes and shapes – an illness, poverty, abuse, a failed relationship, or a secret too horrible to share (II). The road is uneven and full of potholes (III). There are those who are "mothers" to us but who can’t do much more than be with us along the way (IV). There are those – a friend, co-worker, brother or sister – who seem to show up at the right time to help lift the burden a bit (V) even as the sweat and tears nearly blind us along the journey (VI).
We often don’t think we can go on (VII), but then we seem surrounded by those who love us no matter what (VIII), no matter how many times we fall (IX). We recall the experience of being stripped, of being humiliated or shamed (X). Whatever our cross may be, Jesus knows it and is willing to be there with us (XI), even in the midst of very real losses and deaths in our lives (XII). As his mother held him, so Jesus now holds us (XIII), and whispers to us when we think all is lost (XIV), "I promise you, you will live!"
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and is the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.