As we move deeper into Holy Week, what powerful and hopeful Scriptural passages we have before us today! With the Easter Triduum almost upon us, we are reminded of the salvation made available to us all through God’s new covenant with His people.
From the first verse of today’s first reading, we are put on notice to pay attention to this important message! The beginning of the Chapter 49 of Isaiah offers the encouraging image of a humble servant called by the Lord from the womb and concealed like an arrow in His quiver or a sword in the shadow of His arm. Not only is Isaiah referring to a restoration of Israel after the difficult Babylonian exile, but there is a prefiguring of Jesus as the servant messiah who will become a “light to the nations” to bring “salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Psalm response further describes the salvation generously offered by God, who provides strength to each of us from our mother’s womb, forms a stronghold and fortress to give us safety, and rescues us “from the hand of the wicked.”
Today’s Gospel verse leads into the passage of John describing how Jesus will bring salvation through His own sacrifice on the cross “like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.” As the beginning of the Gospel reading acknowledges, how distressed and “deeply troubled” Jesus must have felt at His betrayal by His closest friends and disciples, including Judas and Peter. Nevertheless, soon after in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus remains faithful to the will of the Father in accepting the cup that He is presented.
How many times do we feel betrayed by those around us? Jesus provides a wonderful example to remain strong in our faith and to seek and do the will of God each day of our lives. Although we may sometimes fail and deny Christ as Peter did, we too can pick ourselves up through God’s grace to seek forgiveness, trust in God’s infinite mercy, and sing of the salvation offered by the Lord. Indeed, a hope-filled message to buoy our spirits in these final days of the Lenten season!
Dear Lord, thank You for redeeming us all through Your precious sacrifice and obedience unto death. Give us the grace to do God’s will every day and transform our own suffering into salvation. Amen.
George Ashline, Professor of Mathematics
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15, 17
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website