6 April, 2020

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights.

~ Isaiah 42:1 ~

Isaiah 42:1-7; Psalm 27; John 12:1-11

Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, are thankful to Jesus for raising their brother and so is Lazarus. They celebrate Lazarus’ rising by entertaining with a big feast. They all pay attention to their friend Jesus. Jesus fully appreciates their love for him.


Sadly, during the day we see Judas Iscariot’s evil thoughts emerging. The greed in Judas’ heart is recognisable and he doesn’t seem to think about how selfish he is. Self-giving is non- existent in his heart, it’s all about himself. He pretends to love the poor and uses this as an excuse to complain to Jesus. Jesus does not let Judas’ crooked ways take over and rebukes Judas for being so inconsiderate. When we meet with friends and relatives, we don’t want unpleasantness to spoil the gathering, especially for the hosts. You can just imagine the atmosphere at the house when this takes place.


This story of Jesus and Judas reminds me of a situation in 1986 in South Africa. We had student unrests and the situation was volatile. I want to share the story of Zac (not his real name). I am sure that Zac was a government spy and was paid by the apartheid government to kill people in the townships. He was not working but always had money. He was evil. Over a period of months the killings increased. The police never took statements and Zac continued to kill.


Jesus knew that he lived with a traitor and that he was going to betray him. People sometimes come close to situations very similar to that of Jesus’, where they say to themselves “I trusted this person, I thought the person supported me. I loved this person, but why now, what happened?” I believe, in situations like this, we need to free ourselves of the evil that we see within us. Sometimes we need freedom from the evil done or shown towards us. We need to believe that Jesus is with us all the time, he knows and has experienced the power of evil. He too has overcome evil and will help us do that same.




As you show us your listening heart and trust in your Father, we pray that, in times when we have lost hope, and are facing difficult situations, we remember you.


When evil power seems to take over and we are left powerless, help us to have your courage.




Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

This reflection has been adapted from Have Mercy, O Lord! Daily Reflections for Lent by Grant Tungay SJ, Russell Pollitt SJ, Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, Puleng Matsaneng, Anthony Egan SJ and Frances Correia, & published by the Jesuit Institute South Africa in 2016.

Reflection prepared by

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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