Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Holy Week

..... and it was "night"

This text, "...and it was night" is found in John's account of the Supper of the Lord ch. 13. It contains two important expressions John uses, "Hour" and "Night"
“We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 9:4
 “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. 12:27
“Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father … The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.” 13:1
 “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” ... “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot.
After he took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” So he took the morsel and left at once. And it was night. 13:21
Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, the door to paradise was bolted shut, but not forever. One would come, sent to open the Door of Mercy and the very hour that this would happen is the ninth hour, Good Friday, on the Cross of Jesus.

The absence of light is darkness. Darkness for John is the absence of the light of God's wisdom and truth, that is necessary to form and shape us into children of God, worthy to live in God's presence, eternally. Satan abandoned this light, and set about to cause mankind to suffer the same fate.

When the time came for the Light to return and unlock the door of ignorance, transforming it into the Door of Mercy, the great, eternal conflict was engaged.
Satan must stop the Chosen One, Jesus. From Herod's slaughter of the Innocence at Jesus birth, the testing of Jesus in the wilderness, and throughout his public ministry the battle raged. Having failed, Satan has but one last chance, the hour of the cross.

The cruel suffering Jesus endured on the cross is very real. But this "Hour" is not completely understood in terms of physical pain, it is profoundly different. The term that best describes this suffering is desolation - abandonment - forsaken - despair - eternally lost - the blackness of death ever present. 

In the book of Job, God sites Job's righteousness to Satan. Satan counters with, of course he is, look at how blessed you have made him. Take away from him your blessings and see if he remains righteous. And so God lets Satan put Job to the test. 

Life is more than existing, it is living with the knowledge one is not alone and of no value; rather it is living in the security that comes from knowing you are loved. The highest form of that security comes from knowing you are loved by God.

"My God, my God why have you abandon me?" As Jesus cries out these words from the Cross, he is engulfed in the desolation that is true death. St. Ignatius articulated so very well the nature and character of this experience.
[... type the word desolation in - Search This Blog - on the side bar for further links to this subject]. 

Our true devotion in Holy Week is not to pity poor Jesus suffering such physical pain on the cross. It is to see our brother Jesus descend into the deepest darkness of the human soul and snatch the keys, the keys of Faith and Hope, out of Satan's hands, and unlock the door of eternal death, making it now the Holy Door of eternal life - setting free every soul to live in the secure knowledge of God's love.

"Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit."

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