Reflection for Wednesday in Holy Week or Maundy Thursday – Years A B and C

John 13.21-32

Jesus is troubled in spirit.
Time is running out.
He knows his hour has come.
Has he done enough?
Have they grasped the meaning of his teachings?
Will they come to understand
why he washed their feet
and gave them a new commandment?
And what about the new covenant;
the promise of new freedom
from a different sort of slavery.

Time is running out.
And the betrayer is close by him at supper.
Close enough for Jesus to be able to pass him a piece of oil-soaked bread,
a sign of special honour.
Close enough for Jesus to meet his eye and offer him,
with the bread, one last chance to repent.
Close enough for Jesus to see in the man’s face
that there will be no repentance.

There is no going back.
Time is running out.

Go quickly Judas and do what you have to do.
Go through that door, turning your back
on the warmth and light of that upper room.
Shut your heart against the love
that washed your feet
and go out into the cold darkness of night.
Go quickly, turning your back
on the Light of the World.

Time is running out.
And the eleven remaining disciples
will be in the light for only a while longer.

Still confused and baffled by this evening’s events
they don’t know why Judas left so suddenly
or where he’s gone.

They’re still struggling with the idea that
one of them would even think of betraying
Jesus, their beloved Lord and Master.

“Is it I, Lord?”
“Please let it not be me”

Perhaps they fear that dark corner of their heart
where bad things are stored.
The shadows of doubt and fear.
The bitterness of anger or disappointment.
The cynicism and scorn that come from
trampled hopes and dreams.

And do we not fear that we too
have something of the night within our hearts and minds?
Time is running out.
Judas has chosen to leave the light behind.
Jesus has chosen to let him go,
knowing where that choice will take him.

And when Judas has gone out Jesus says:
“Now the Son of Man has been glorified
and God has been glorified in him.”

And perhaps the disciples are even more confused and mystified.

Perhaps we can understand
a little more than they can.
Although it is still mystery to us,
we see the events of this evening
from the other side of the cross.

In the light of Easter maybe we can understand that:

The glory of the light of the world shines
even when night descends and all is dark.
His glory shines even when betrayal and cruelty
twist hearts and minds.
It shines even when agony and death
are inevitable and imminent;
even when we feel abandoned, lost and afraid.

The glory of the light of the world shines
even when time is running out and the end is near.
And we have seen that glory,
the glory as of a Father’s only son,
full of grace and truth.

May the grace and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ
be in our hearts and minds, keeping us faithful and loyal
as we follow him now along the Way of the Cross. Amen.