The power of his love – Wednesday, Isaiah 50 :4-9a/ Matthew 26:14-25

Read also based on the Gospel of today

Tomorrow, we step in to the Sacred Tridum but for today the first reading presents us with the third Song of the Servant of Yahweh. The fourth and last Song will be read during the liturgy of Good Friday. (We have focused on the first two this week)

The Third Servant Song of Isaiah was written almost six hundred years before the events of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the Passion that followed. But it is almost as if Isaiah, one of Israel’s greatest prophets was standing in Jerusalem, witnessing what happened to Jesus and describing it in his wonderfully poetic language. “The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.”

Jesus is the obedient son the of father. He was obedient unto death on a cross. The same may not be said entirely of us and the same could not be said of the nation of Israel that rejected him. In his pain, he will speak love and forgiveness and Isaiah reminds us of those words which are alluded to Christ, “he has given me a disciples tongue so that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.”

Jesus spoke comfort from the cross, not once but seven times and while some were spoken of himself or to his father, there were words to us that were meant to bring comfort; words to sustain the weary. It is truly a great soul, who even in their suffering can think of the comfort and care of others around. Jesus with his ‘disciples tongue’ teaches even while he hangs on the cross.

The reading of today, anticipating the suffering of Christ on Good Friday, reminds us that Jesus, for our sake, submits to insults and beatings. The Servant makes no resistance to his attackers. He will not meet violence with violence. He does not choose to retaliate for to do so would be to bring himself down to the level of his attackers.

Jesus offers his back for a beating, something given only to criminals. It requires great inner strength not to respond in kind to such provocation. But when it is undergone with dignity, it is the attacker who seems small. It must be made very clear that this is not weakness, but a sign of great inner strength and peace.

We could reflect today on how we respond to criticisms, statements about us we regard as unfair or untrue. Are we prone to a physical or verbal violent response? Even if we do not respond externally, do we allow statements and events to turn us into cauldrons of anger, hatred, anxiety and tension?

As Holy Week unfolds before us, we are called by God to remember, to re-live in the best way we can, the story of Jesus’ Passion, crucifixion and death. We are invited to get into the depths of it all with Jesus; to feel how deep is His emotional pain, even if we can only imagine the breadth of His physical pain. Because we cannot know the power of His sacrifice unless we really know the suffering cost of it.

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