In the gospel this Tuesday in Holy Week we hear the whispers of what is to come on Good Friday. During the breaking of the bread, Jesus calls out Judas as the one who will betray him. At the same meal, Jesus tells Simon Peter of his denial in the coming days. Evil choices are on the same table with the bread that is shared with love. So often in life we find evil and good together. It’s almost as though evil prompts the appearance of love. Maybe that’s why we pray “deliver us from evil” in the same prayer we offer for the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth, the Our Father.
The dual presence of good and evil seems to present the challenge of our lives. How do I work to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth where all is one in Christ? During my work on disaster relief with the Red Cross, I always was astounded by the presence of evil in the form of a disaster side by side with the presence of love and good in the people helping one another. Love appeared often in the eyes of the suffering and those trying to help even while evil mercilessly pounded their very existence.
The presence of love and evil during Holy Week is the essence of the paschal mystery we celebrate and cherish. Surrendering to this mystery is the heart of our prayer and action. Walking with Jesus during Holy Week is a walk with evil and good, love and betrayal, faithfulness and denial, side by side. Lately I have felt challenged by evil in the form of suffering in people I love. This challenge has resulted in my own growth in sensitivity toward others and what they are experiencing. I am reminded of my own presence in God’s hands even while walking toward the Cross we must all experience. The words from the prophet Isaiah comfort me on this journey through the paschal mystery.
“Hear me, O islands, listen, O distant peoples. The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.”
The Lord knows all our names, even before we are born. The Lord comforts me, even while I experience both good and evil. May this remembrance comfort us all as we live the paschal mystery in our hearts and lives.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.