Wednesday of Holy Week
We are half way through Holy Week and Triduum is only hours away. This said, today is a good day to take stock of our Lenten journey. Hopefully these forty days have helped us set our face like flint to our own sinfulness. Hopefully these days have helped us recognize that there is no disgrace in doing our best to turn away from all that distracts us from God. In short, reflect upon how this journey has brought us closer to the Lord.
If we have not grown closer during these days there is still time for the Lord to confront us if we open our ears and our hearts. In today’s reading from Isaiah we read the third of four suffering servant songs. In this song, the suffering of the disciple with a well trained tongue clearly foreshadows the suffering servant we know as Jesus. For Isaiah, this servant will be ignored, mistreated and covered with spittle. Despite these sufferings, God’s servant will not be put to shame. And yet it seems as if that is exactly what is happened.
The psalm leaves us with a strong sense of a servant who has deep feelings of shame. Yet suffering is not the end of the psalmist’s story. Despite the servants sense of brokenness, “I have become an outcast to my brothers,” yet there is still a hope and trust in the Lord. “For the Lord hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds, he spurns not.”
The silver lining in the Gospel seems hidden as well. Today’s gospel glances towards Holy Thursday with the focus on the betrayal of Jesus. In the end, a close friend, one whom Jesus loved, will turn Jesus over for price of a slave. Matthew suggests that the shame really is upon the one who betrays not upon the servant who suffers.
Today’s readings echo one of the major paradoxes of Christian theology, and the main point of Holy Week. The Lord’s Passion ends in death, yet this death is not the end of the story. Victory is won through the servants suffering, because the bonds of death are broken in Jesus’ resurrection. Therefore, there is no shame in the servants suffering as its purpose will ultimately glorify God.
Lord, as we reflect upon You help us appreciate our own suffering and betrayals today. Guide us to see in them, not incidents of shame, but opportunities for redemption!
- Deacon Michael Montgomery