Holy Tuesday Meditation (Fr. Cristiano Pinheiro)


Meditation – April 4th, 2023 – Holy Tuesday

The account of the Gospel of John on the last hours of Jesus’ life is somewhat ‘suspenseful’. And we can misunderstand the account if we read it quickly; they actually need to be enjoyed in a ‘contemplative way’.

Yesterday the Gospel led us to Bethany, where Jesus enjoyed the warmth of fellowship and friendship with the siblings Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and where the meanness of Judas has been overcome by Mary’s generous and ‘fragrant’ love. Today, Holy Tuesday, we find ourselves in the ‘Upper Room’ of Jerusalem, at the dinner table.

We fast forward to the Last Supper, the ‘hour’ when Jesus openly discloses that pain that causes Him to suffer: “‘Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me’. The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.”

Certainly Jesus’ grief doesn’t depend only on having to suffer and die, but on knowing that the one who will deliver Him into the hands of his killers is one who has been with Him for at least three long years. The betrayer is someone who is known, loved and trusted.
When suffering is inflicted on us by a stranger, it is more bearable than when it is inflicted on us by those we love. But Jesus doesn’t play ‘the hero’ by hiding his sorrow. He declares and shows it openly. He will always be willing to forgive, trying to get Judas’ heart back until the end, but He doesn’t conceal the inner pain of such a betrayal.

The problem, however, is that it is too easy to say that the traitor is Judas, that the traitor is ‘someone else’. The truth is that, in Judas, each of us can mirror ourselves.
We, too, are ‘the loved ones’, confidants, intimate friends, sons, daughters, disciples, people who have some familiarity with Christ, yet despite this we continue to hand Him over to His killers, we continue to push Him aside. And we do this every time we disregard what He taught us, what He has told us, what He has done for us.

All the times we don’t love the project of holiness He holds in store for us, we hurt Him. Actually, it’s like saying that all the times ‘we don’t strive to love ourselves’ the way He loves us we hurt Him.
All the times we don’t love our neighbor we hurt Him. All the times we think we are smarter than God’s providence, just as Judas was convinced he has come up with the perfect crime, we actually hurt Him. To sin is to think we are smarter than God’s Providence.

Today we must pause before Jesus’ tear-filled eyes and meditate on this heartache that assails Him.

Fr. Cristiano Pinheiro C. Bede Shalom Catholic Community New York, April 4th, 2023


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