On this Tuesday of holy week we hear proclaimed in the Gospel:
"Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.' The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant."
Betrayal. Hard stuff. No doubt we too look about. Who ... me? Surely it is someone else. Someone else ignoring the needy in my backyard. Someone else who fails to advocate against unjust wars waged in my own name. Someone else who [fill in the blank]. If we are honest there are daily opportunities to be like Peter and deny Christ. Big or small, the story is one we both know and live. Following the in the footsteps of Jesus though involves the cross. It is not meant to be easy.
Holy week to me is a time to remember that. Through ritual and word we cut through the happy fluff of religion to the real world where the rubber hits the road.
On Sunday I was giving a presentation at the local synagogue in the morning, so I missed Palm Sunday services at my own parish. I went to a nearby parish Sunday night and unknowingly found myself at the mass where the 8th grade performed the passion play. I had flashbacks to my own 8th grade performance as friend of a blind person who was healed by this Jesus.
But I digress. This play on Sunday was actually a musical. And I clearly recall the impassioned song of Judas when he realized what he was about to do. For his part the kid who played Peter realistically portrayed the shrug with which we all deny Christ in our lives in little ways that add up.
The kids did a great job, even though if memory serves me from my own passion play days, most of them don't get what's at stake yet. But they will one day. They too will look back at their life, at the suffering they have witnessed. They will remember the times they took up the cross in their lives and the times they didn't. And hopefully they will live the promise and hope of Easter.
Have a blessed Holy Week everyone.