holy week.

My 80-year-old grandmother is a feisty independent woman. Though she is relatively mobile, with each passing day, it seems like she needs additional care and attention. Once a month I have been traveling to her home and spending the weekend doing my best to meet her needs. These needs are a mixture of physical and social deficiencies. It might mean helping her around the house, by pushing her in the wheelchair, or just simply being present in her loneliness – in which case, we eat po’boys and play board games!

I had the pleasure of keeping her company this past weekend and ushering in Palm Sunday, and the beginning of Holy Week, with her. Tea in hand, we sat together and listened to a few of our favorite pastors. As we digested the sermons, there was a passage of Scripture identified that seems rather appropriate for meditation on the eve of Spy Wednesday.

“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watch for an opportunity to hand him over.” Matthew 26:14-16

I so often scoff at Judas for betraying Jesus. But I fail to admit the inner darkness of humanity that ruminates within my own soul. Though I did not betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, I find myself willing to deliver him to the cross, daily, for many shameful wants, desires, and fears.

While my wickedness makes me no better than Judas, the result of Spy Wednesday — ultimately the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ — has satisfied and atoned for the darkness I so willfully participate in.

Spy Wednesday may bring somber reflection, but there is joy and hope in the power of the resurrected Christ. Though our actions default to our humanity, may we boldly sip from the cup of holy oil and accept the forgiveness we are offered.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

The Prayer of Saint Francis