Tuesday of Holy Week
LENTEN EVENING REFLECTION ON THE READINGS OF THE DAY
(Tuesday of Holy Week)
Br. Brillis Mathew
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
God knows each one of us personally
Today we have two beautiful readings, of which the first is an excerpt from the Second Song of the Servant (Isaiah 49:1-6), where the Lord tells us,
“I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach the remotest parts of the earth.”
We should never take our life for granted, nor should we ever underestimate what the Lord has called us to become.
The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
(Isaiah 49:2) This was applicable not only to the Prophet Isaiah himself, but the Prophet was also prophesying about Jesus - and about each one of us as well! God has called each one of us by our names.
Even before He created us in our mother’s womb
, He knew us (Psalm 139). God is the One Who created us and formed us. The meaning of the words,
“He has pronounced my name”,
is that God knows and loves each one of us personally.
Moving away from discouragement
Sometimes we may wonder,
“What is the meaning of my life? Who am I among the hundreds and thousands of people in this world? My life is useless; my life is not worth living as I am not able to provide what I am supposed to provide; everything I am doing is useless; everything seems to be in vain.”
But the Lord reminds us through the Prophet Isaiah in today’s reading that nothing we do is in vain and that we are precious to Him. If this is the case, where do these discouraging thoughts come from? Certainly not from the Holy Spirit, who only
us! St. Therese, in one of her prayers offered at the close of the day, once reflected,
“Sometimes, when I consider my failures, I am tempted to become discouraged. But then I recognize that discouragement is also pride.”
Brothers and sisters, we are called to be enlightened, encouraged and joyful – living everyday in the grace of God - this is
Radiating light to the world
The first reading also reminds us about our mission:
“I will make you the light of the nations!”
Jesus tells us,
“You are the light of the world”
We are not called to be light in our own families, communities or villages alone, but
the light of the world
. This will happen when Jesus comes and dwells in our hearts; when we decrease and He increases in our lives. The light within our lives comes from Him. Cardinal Newman’s beautiful prayer reads as follows:
“Everyone will thus see that all my light comes from You, O Lord; may I spread Your fragrance; may I radiate Your Light.”
The Responsorial Psalm tells us,
“My lips will tell of Your help.”
It is only by journeying along the path of difficulties and struggles that we will be able to encounter Jesus more and more deeply – an encounter which is not on an intellectual level, but an encounter in
spirit and in truth.
(John 4:23-24). God will visit each one of us in a special way; He will move our souls, hearts and minds and thus enlighten our lives.
The two characters in the Gospel: Judas and Peter
In the Gospel Reading of the Day (John 13:21-33, 36-38), we encounter two characters: the first is Judas and the second, Peter. Judas was a professional liar, actor and hypocrite. He could hide his heart from everyone except Jesus. At the end of the day, the Lord looks at what is within us, He looks at our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7). Let us not worry too much about external appearances, for God says in Scripture,
“I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Peter was innocent, and at the same time, also very weak. Judas, on the other hard, decided to harden his heart deliberately.
Following Jesus: possible only by the truly “weak”
Peter, innocent and sometimes a bit impulsive, said to Jesus
, “Lord where are you going? Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for You.”
He did not realise (as also is the case with some of us) that following Christ is not something that is possible with our own strength. The Lord asks us: “Are you
weak and broken enough
to follow Me?” God always chose humble and weak people to follow Him so that His power may manifest itself within them. Our Blessed Mother says,
“He has chosen His servant in her lowliness.” (Luke 1:46-48)
Peter was a weak person who was completely shattered after his denial. Later, however, God manifested His power in Peter and he was able to lay down his life for Jesus and become a martyr.
Our strengths must become weaknesses for God’s grace to work within us
Sometimes, our “strengths” can become a great hindrance for God to work in our lives as they can very well lead us to become “inflexible”. In the Lord, however, it is our weaknesses which become our strengths. St. Paul prayed three times for his weaknesses to go away. But the Lord replied to him,
“My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Our weaknesses are not mere weaknesses – we only have to look at the lives of Moses, Abraham and Jacob. Jacob’s own words regarding his frustrations and struggles are as follows:
“For many years, I did not sleep; I had to go through a lot of struggles.”
These words were also true in the life of Jesus.
The example of the “little” and “weak” Therese clinging to the All-Powerful God
So when we are convinced that we are of ourselves, weak human beings, that is in itself a good sign. On the other hand, whenever we think we are strong, that could push us towards a “danger zone” where we may fail to trust wholeheartedly in God’s mercy and grace. St. Paul warns us,
“A person who thinks he or she is standing, must be careful that he does not fall.”
(1 Corinthians 10:12). The Lord invites us to follow Him with all our weaknesses and failures. Our weaknesses will be our strengths! St. Therese – within her autobiography,
“the Story of a Soul”
muses in God’s presence as follows,
“Since she was very weak, Little Therese decided to cling to the All-Powerful God always.”
So, dear brothers and sisters, during this Holy Week, in our weakness and poverty, let us cling to Jesus and
humbly walk with Him
towards Calvary (Micah 6:7-8). For this particular grace, let us specially pray during these days.
John E. John
on Wednesday, April 8 at 8:31AM