8 April, 2020

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.

~ Plato ~

Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 69; Matthew 26:14-25

Although we only hear Jesus’ prediction of his betrayal by Judas in today’s Gospel, we know that when he went with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, Judas came with the soldiers to betray him.

 

When Jesus is approached in the garden, he stands steadfast for who he is, faithful to his identity. Jesus fearlessly opens a conversation with them. The way he speaks leaves them fearing and falling down, and he finds himself repeatedly saying to them, “I told you that I am he.” Jesus, at this moment, does not make his own decision but does what the Father in heaven expects him to do.

 

We might be thinking of ways to run from the situation. Jesus, on the other hand, confronts what is before him and seems to enter into the conversation to the fullest. While this conversation takes place, Jesus seems to show irritation when Simon Peter uses a sword and strikes the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.

 

Simon Peter takes the situation into his own hands. But Jesus knows what he has to do for his Father. Simon Peter’s action takes me back to our struggles that the Lord is highlighting for us: the question of violence that has gone beyond our thinking. Jesus stops the violence he sees in Simon Peter because he knows that the people who had been sent to kill him would complete what had been written in the Scriptures.

 

Christians always debate how they should carry the cross of Jesus. When Jesus stops Peter it allows us to enter fully into what it means to be calm and merciful. Jesus knows that he has to carry his cross.

 

How do we carry our cross? This is not an easy question to ask as it involves one’s being. To engage this question we need to go deep into prayer. How do we choose, and help others choose, a way that does not have violence as its end? Violence is never a solution to protect a leader. Violence can never be used in the name of God.

 

Lord Jesus,

 

Through the help of your Father we look forward today towards your rising.

 

Though your death leaves a feeling of a deep loss within our hearts, we look forward to your resurrection when you will overcome all violence.

 

Amen.

 

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. Matthew manages the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and is involved in the Spirituality work whilst completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and is also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
See more from Matthew Charlesworth SJ

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